No one in their right mind (or in a public forum) would ever equate a declaration of war as part of a PR strategy, but it could be one of the side effects of what took place in the Iraq recently.
Without getting into the nuance of military and political goings-on, the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) doesn’t play well with others. They almost certainly like American even less than they did after the U.S. military bombed ISIS’ ammunition stockpiles to help our “friends” in Iraq defend themselves.
To wit, ISIS released a video proclaiming that they will “raise the flag of Allah over the White House.”
If you are a foreign oppressor and a volatile terrorist, and you tell the U.S. that you are going to sack the White House so you can fly your crappy, hand-knit rag in the Washington D.C. sky, the U.S. will call your bluff, right?
And we did.
President Obama called upon the U.S. Armed forces for a “restricted air strike” to halt ISIS’ progression and growth of weapons, recruits, cash, and territory. In fact, we used “drones and a fighter jets to attack a mortar position and vehicle convoy near [the Kurdish capital of] Erbil,” according to NBC News.
The given reason for the strikes was to prevent the mass killing of members of the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi group, whom ISIS had isolated atop a nearby mountain. Many of Obama’s ideological opponents supported the move, while some more hawkish members of the opposition still call him “weak” for not planning a more thorough campaign.
While a large majority of Americans now say that the larger Iraq War wasn’t worth the effort, campaigns against the nation’s stated enemies often lead to rare moments of bipartisan agreement (remember the death of Osama Bin Laden?).
Understanding that fact makes us wonder whether this administration, while certainly not conducting the campaign in order to earn PR points, might be hoping for a boost in its poll numbers at home.
(BTW, this profile of ISIS provided by VICE News is quite frightening.)