By Frank Lewis
The president’s address to the nation Sunday night in which he laid out his plans for defeating ISIL, has drawn swift response from Ohio’s political leaders on the other side of the aisle. Obama’s plan is a four-pronged approach.
“First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary, using air strikes to take out ISIL leaders and their infrastructure in Iraq and Syria. And since the attacks in Paris, our closest allies – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign, which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy ISIL,” Obama said. “Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens. In both countries, we are deploying Special Operations forces who can accelerate that offensive.”
The third part of the plan is the the U.S. to lead a coalition of 65 countries to stop ISIL’s operations by disrupting plots, cutting off their financing, and preventing them from recruiting more fighters. And fourth, Obama said, with American leadership, the international community has established a process and timeline to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian civil war. Doing so, he said, will allow the Syrian people and every country to focus on the common goal of destroying ISIL.
“The President can rally the country behind him in this fight – but, once again, he failed to ask. Tonight’s address from the Oval Office to the American people was yet another missed opportunity to lead — no substantive proposals and no specifics on what actions he plans to take,” U.S. Representative Bill Johnson said. “I was disappointed that a significant part of the President’s speech was used to stump for gun control and a lecture Americans on the importance of showing compassion and tolerance to Muslims. First, terrorists, and others bent on killing, do not follow our laws – period. Curbing the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms with meaningless, feel good legislation is both naïve and dangerous. Second, the attacks on September 11th, at the Boston Marathon, and last week in California are a product of Islamic terrorism, not American insensitivity to our fellow citizens. Mr. President, enough is enough – it’s time to lead.”
A similar reaction came from the camp of U.S. Senator Rob Portman.
“Unfortunately, this Administration insists on pursuing its failed policy despite the growing and obvious risks Islamic extremism poses to the security of our nation, its allies and our shared values. In light of the recent terrorist attacks in California, the Administration must develop an aggressive and clear strategy to defeat ISIS because we cannot afford to wait for the next attack on American soil,” Portman said. “This attack is another reminder of the need to review our security vetting procedures for visa applicants, as it now appears that the female terrorist was able to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. It’s also a reminder that we must not fight this enemy with one hand tied behind our back and we must ensure that we have every capability possible to stop these types of attacks. That includes considering the renewal of intelligence gathering programs that expired in November. We must lead the effort to degrade and destroy, not contain, Islamic extremism wherever it resides and I will work with my colleagues both on the Homeland Security Committee and in Congress to protect Americans.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.