As President Barack Obama dithers, professors, religious leaders and a host of other notables are calling on the U.S. government and governments in other civilized counties to use military force to eliminate the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) across the Middle East.
Princeton University professor Robert P. George has launched a bipartisan, interfaith petition calling for the destruction of ISIS in order to protect the religious minorities currently under siege in the region.
Over 12,300 people have signed the petition as of Wednesday evening.
One of the signatories is Cornel West, a former Princeton professor, a radical left-winger, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a frequent guest on MSNBC.
Another signatory is Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, a bestselling author, a frequent guest on Fox News and the conservative celebrity of the moment.
Other luminaries who have signed the petition include Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention; former editor-in-chief of The New Republic (and Harvard University professor) Martin Peretz; Abigail Thernstrom of the American Enterprise Institute and Stephan Thernstrom, professor emeritus at Harvard; Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic’s literary editor; Joshua Muravchik of the Foreign Policy Institute; Ronald Radosh of the The Hudson Institute; and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.
The petition declares that ISIS “is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq” and, in a “fanatical effort to establish a caliphate,” engaging “in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons.”
The petition continues:
“It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities. This goal cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable ISIS/ISIL forces. President Obama was right to order airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL to stop its advance on key cities, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance to people fleeing their assaults. Much more needs to be done, however, and there is no time to waste.”
Later, the petition also calls for an expansion of humanitarian aid and urges the United States and countries to consider every option which conforms to “the principles of just war.”
“Nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.”
Congress may be a stumbling block to any broad, long-lasting U.S. military action. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have both indicated their belief that Obama should wait for a yea-or-nay vote by the full Congress before any escalation of conflict.
“I do not believe that our expanded military operations against ISIL are covered under existing authorizations from Congress,” Kaine said, according to Fox News.
“This fight, and the threat posed by ISIL, is serious enough that Congress and the administration must be united on U.S. policy going forward,” the Democrat added.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) noted that the War Powers Act allows the president to engage in military activity for 60 days without seeking approval for Congress.
Kaine has said that the Obama administration has already deemed Congress’s 2002 authorization for the Iraq war as obsolete.