Common Dreams/byLauren McCauley, staff writer/ 09/23/2014
Claiming success, the U.S. military said that the strikes destroyed numerous targets in the vicinity of Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal including training compounds, command and operations facilities, and armored vehicles.
However, opponents of the war were quick to reiterate that such strikes will only embolden the terrorist group and worsen the crisis in the Middle East, repeating Obama's own statement that there is "no military solution" to combating ISIS.
As Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow at Institute for Policy Studies, declared in a post following the attack: "You can’t bomb extremism out of existence."
"The U.S. bombs do not fall on 'extremism,'" Bennis continued, "they are falling on Raqqah, a 2,000 year-old Syrian city with a population of more than a quarter of a million people—men, women and children who had no say in the take-over of their city by ISIS."
"The Pentagon is bombing targets like the post office and the governor’s compound, and the likelihood of large number of civilian casualties as well as devastation of the ancient city, is almost certain," Bennis wrote, adding that the only way to counter ISIS is to shift to a broad, diplomatic approach in the region.
Also Monday, the U.S. military alone conducted eight strikes near Aleppo against targets associated with the Khorasan Group, an alleged al-Qaida offshoot. The military also continued to bomb ISIS targets in Iraq as well bringing the total number of strikes there to 194.
The U.S. military says that going forward they will continue to conduct strikes against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq.
The attack comes a week after Congress backed Obama's request for $500m to train "moderate" Syrian rebels. However, the legislature deferred a vote on the war against ISIS until after November's election. The U.S. president asserts that the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against al-Qaida grants him sufficient legal authority to attack the group in Syria, despite the fact that al-Qaida itself has publicly rejected affiliation with ISIS. Critics assert that the decision to bomb Syria stands in stark violation of international law, the United Nations charter, and the War Powers Resolution in the U.S. Constitution.
As Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out in a post on Tuesday, it was just over a year ago that the Obama administration was pushing to attack the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad whereas now the U.S. is bombing the enemies of the Assad regime. Critics argue that Obama's changing stance towards Assad is reflective of what they say is a confused and misguided foreign policy.
"It seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war; what matters it that it be at war, always and forever," Greenwald writes.
Obama is expected to give an address on the strike on Tuesday at 10AM EST. A live stream is available to watch on the Department of Defense website.