The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sharm, ISIS -- also known as ISIL, is "beyond anything that we've seen" and "we must prepare for everything." These were the ominous statements expressed by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during an afternoon briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday, Aug. 21.
The briefing, coming just two days after ISIS released a video on Youtube showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, prompted the Pentagon to disclose that it had failed at a rescue mission in Syria, where James Foley and other American hostages were assumed to be held by ISIS. Secretary Hagel made it clear that the U.S. would not "relent" in its pursuit to rescue those hostages being held by ISIS -- the "sophisticated and well-funded" Islamic terrorist military who pose an "imminent threat" to the U.S.
When referring to the fight against ISIS, Secretary Hagel sternly directed that the U.S. is "very clear-eyed about the challenges ahead," and further expounded that the "U.S. military's involvement," in Iraq, "is not over."
The beheading of American journalist James Foley was an ISIS response to the sustained and continuing U.S. airstrikes over key ISIS' strongholds in Iraq -- the airstrikes have been consistent since Aug. 7, the day President Obama publicly announced its approval. Since its approval, the U.S. military has launched approximately 90 airstrikes against ISIS.
The ISIS militant shown in the James Foley beheading video who performed the execution, demanded that the U.S. discontinue airstrikes, or they will move ahead in executing yet another American journalist identified as Steven Sotloff, who was shown in the video being held by his neck. However, the U.S. ignored ISIS' threat to continue executing American hostages, and hours later after the grim video was released, American fighter jets and drones resumed more airstrike missions against ISIS.
With 748 U.S. forces currently inside Iraq, a proposal on the table to send in another 300 troops and constant U.S. fighter jets and drone airstrikes over Iraq, it is difficult to not perceive these variables as instruments playing the tune of war.
Perceptively, it seems President Obama will soon have no choice but to take over the airwaves from the oval office to address the American people and announce that we are officially at war.