Editorial: ISIS Has Gone Too Far by Robert Morales

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, ISIS, the terrorist group based in Syria and parts of Iraq, has struck again. ISIS (also known as the Islamist State) has in the recent months beheaded American and Japanese captives.

Last week, the despicable group led a captured Jordanian pilot into a cage, sprayed him with fuel and lit a torch from outside the cage where a line of fuel eventually engulfed the pilot in flames.

On Tuesday morning, our worst fears were realized when we learned that 26-year-old American hostage Kayla Mueller had been confirmed dead.

We aren’t sure how she died, but ISIS has said that she died last week as a result of the nonstop air strikes from the Jordanian Air Force. Jordanian military officials have said that there is no truth to that assertion because the air strikes have been laser-targeted, not to mention, Ms. Mueller was being held captive in another part of the country.

King Abdullah of Jordan was visiting with President Obama in Washington last week when the news about the horrific act took place. King Abdullah immediately returned to Jordan vowing a “relentless” and “earth-shaking response” to the tragic death of the pilot.

Less than 24 hours later, Jordan announced the hangings of two al-Quaeda prisoners that had taken place at dawn. To date, the Jordanian Air Force has flown 56 sorties, or air strikes in the ISIS-held region, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined in with the help of the United States.

Ms. Mueller, from Prescott, Ariz.,was kidnapped in August 2013 in Aleppo, Syria after leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital. She had volunteered to help Syrian refugees fleeing the violence imposed on them by dictator al-Assad. According to family members, Ms. Mueller said, “As long as I am alive, I will not let this suffering be normal.”

Her tragic death presents an enormous dilemma for Mr. Obama and his administration. The question now is how will the U.S. respond to this latest appalling event?  The president has said that he will not engage ground troops in the ISIS-infiltrated areas, but Ms. Mueller’s death raises the stakes to a much higher level.

Some very hawkish Republicans in Congress have strongly suggested that only ground troops will wipe out the ISIS threat, and whether Americans like it or not, that is probably the only way to eradicate the group once and for all. Otherwise, ISIS has its eyes set on causing as much havoc as it can in the Middle East, but the group has already shown how it would very much like to come to the United States and other western countries to spread its terrorism to “infidels.”

The president’s decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq was not a prudent move. It is true that former Iraqi President al-Maliki was no friend of the United States, and that his refusal to strike a deal with Mr. Obama about leaving a limited number of troops in the country can be taken into consideration; however, the president should have insisted on keeping troops in Iraq regardless of what al-Maliki said. It may have prevented the surge of ISIS in the northern parts of the country.

Now, Mr. Obama is dealing with a hornet’s nest that has totally gotten out of control. Congress will likely grant him the authorization for the use of military force (UAMF) this week. Mr. Obama will be forever judged upon how he will use the authority. Only one this is certain: We are living in a very dangerous world where others are intent on harming us and our allies.

No one likes war, but the United States has consistently proven that we are the most powerful nation in the world. As difficult as it may be for us to send our troops to war, the killing of Ms. Mueller has reached a tipping point. If not now, when?