The Bomb ISIS party has officially begun and everyone is eager to get in some licks. On Wednesday, the British parliament authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State, and within hours RAF Tornado jets were dropping high precision Paveway bombs on ISIS-controlled oil fields in eastern Syria.
The UK's entry into the fight against ISIS comes closely on the heels of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's announcement that an expeditionary task force of American commandos would soon be deployed to northern Iraq to begin ground operations against the Islamic State on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Britain has been extremely reluctant to take military action in Syria, but quickly shifted its attitude in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that left at least 130 people dead. In August 2013, Parliament rejected airstrikes against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government after it had used chemical weapons on its own people. But ISIS has proved a much more appealing target.
During his opening speech at the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “The threat is very real. The question is: Do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat?” Parliament responded with a resounding "yes," with British lawmakers voting 397 to 223 in favor of UK military action against ISIS.
The British airstrikes in Syria aren't expected to deal a significant blow to the Islamic State. But they do amount to a very significant gesture of solidarity with the United States as it ramps up its military operations in Iraq and Syria alongside France, Australia and Denmark.
Meanwhile, the strikes are also raising fears that Britain is getting sucked into another protracted conflict in the Middle East, which Mr. Cameron acknowledged in his opening speech. “This is not 2003,” he said. “We must not use past mistakes as an excuse for indifference or inaction.”