Central Illinois Residents React to Obama's ISIS Strategy

CHAMPAIGN--On the eve of 9/11's thirteenth anniversary, President Barack Obama made the case for a continued presence in the Middle East to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"Small groups of people have the capacity to do great harm, that was the case before 9/11 and that remains true today. and that's why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge," said Obama.

"It's better that way than what happened in the late 90s and the U.S. never went back and it kind of metastasized into a very bad moment in 2001," said Rakesh Kumar, who supports the president's call to action. "So it's better to go after them I suppose, as opposed to waiting for them to catch you."

To go after ISIS, Obama will continue airstrikes in Iraq and will not hesitate to authorize new ones in Syria, but insists there will be no U.S. boots on the ground in either country. However, he will send 475 service members to train Iraqi and Kurdish force.

"It's more expensive for sure, but less expensive in blood," said Kumar.

"Even though our boys won't be on the ground, our troops, there are going to be maybe lives lost of innocent people," said Emilee Johnson, who was wary of the president's plan.

The United States will continue providing humanitarian assistance to the innocent civilians in the region, while working with other countries to defeat this terrorist threat. But Obama warns it will take time.

"I am a little concerned with how long it's going to take," said Johnson. "It's going to be expanded over the years."

The president did not specify exactly how long it will take, but did say the effort aims to secure America's safety.
Current Conditions