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President's ISIS Proposal Brings Up Complicated Feelings For Student Vets

Sam Heron is a student and veteran at the University of Washington.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy
Sam Heron is a student and veteran at the University of Washington.

President Obama asked Congress Wednesday to formally authorize military force to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. But student veterans attending the University of Washington have mixed opinions about a renewed military presence in the Middle East.

Today Sam Heron is a student majoring in psychology. But in 2003 the former infantryman was deployed to northern Iraq. He’s familiar with the region where ISIS operates and understands why the president wants the U.S. involved. But personally it’s been hard for him. He wonders what the end game is.

“I mean we’ve already been over there once and we maybe didn’t have a very clear cut mission and I’ve lost friends. And you know we’ve lost a tremendous amount of our generation to the war and we really have nothing show for it. So it’s really hard to imagine going back in," Heron said. 

Lyndsay Church is a grad student studying counter terrorism at UW's Jackson School of International Studies. Before that she was a Navy linguist.

Church said she’s surprised the U.S. let ISIS get this far, but for her as well the situation is complicated. “Of course I’m scared for every single service member who has to go and put themselves in harm’s way again," Church said. "But I know guys who came back without limbs and would do it all over again.”

Under the president's proposal, the use of military force would be authorized for three years. But Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said the language in the resolution isn't clear enough and U.S. involvement could go on indefinitely.