Commander: 'Iraq strategy flawed, but we must destroy ISIS'

“A step in the right direction,” is how American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm characterized the president’s plan to degrade and ultimately destroy Islamic State terrorists.

“We understand the reluctance to commit American ground troops to more combat after years of war," Helm said. "However, we also understand the brutality and threat that this group represents. No war has ever been won without boots on the ground, and American troops are the best troops on the ground anywhere. We should not eliminate the possibility.

“While it may be necessary to take even stronger measures if the air strikes and coalition troops are unable to eliminate ISIL, we know that the American people need to be united in their support for such action. It may also be necessary for the president to receive congressional authorization if the plan escalates. Regardless, The American Legion is always united in our support for our military and any missions that our servicemembers undertake to keep America safer. The beheading of Americans, the targeting of civilians and the human rights atrocities committed by these Islamic extremists must end. If 9/11 taught us anything, it is that we must never again grow complacent to this very evil ideology.”

Helm had plenty of criticism for what he termed a failed post-Iraq war policy that helped reverse most of the gains that Americans made after years of war. “Americans should never have had to pay for the same ground twice," he said. "We have lost what was gained through the precious blood of America’s sons and daughters. To say that we will depend on other countries to re-take that land does not seem likely to produce a rosey scenario.”