Republican leaders today said President Obama must act decisively to combat the brutal jihadist group Islamic State and put forth a coherent strategy for ultimately defeating the terrorists in both Iraq and Syria.
One said the Islamist group, also known as ISIS, is “one plane ticket away” from an attack on the American homeland.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that U.S. generals should develop a long-term plan to confront the Islamic State, a group of Sunni terrorists, rather than reacting to specific events as they happen.
Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee and the GOP’s 2012 nominee for vice president, said:
I don’t want to hear from the president how he’s reacting to events like the Mosul Dam. What I want to hear from our commander in chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off, to defeat ISIS. Let’s not forget that there are reportedly thousands of terrorists with foreign passports. If we don’t deal with this threat now thoroughly and convincingly, it’s going to come home to roost.
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After an Islamic State leader beheaded American journalist James Foley last week and distributed a video of the murder online, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said military action in Syria will have to be part of any plan to defeat the terrorists.
So far, U.S. airstrikes have been limited to inside Iraq.
Republican lawmakers on the Sunday shows this morning echoed Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who, in an address last week at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, called Foley’s murder “a preview” and said Obama must “eliminate” the Islamic State, or ISIS.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, characterized Foley’s on-camera slaying as a “catalyst” and “turning point” in the fight against the Islamic State.
“I do think they present the greatest threat we’ve seen since 9/11,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding:
This has been festering for the last year, and now it’s culminating with the killing and beheading of an American journalist, which I think is a turning point. The American people — it has sort of opened their eyes to what ISIS really is. The true character of ISIS, how savage they really are and their intent to harm Americans.
McCaul said on ABC’s “This Week” that he believes the Islamist terrorist army intends to attack America.
“They would love more than nothing else to hit the United States of America,” McCaul said.
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House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Islamic State is “one plane ticket away from U.S. shores.”
The U.S. needs to partner more assertively with allies in the Middle East and intelligence agencies and the Defense Department need to be “more disruptive,” Rogers said:
This is an opportunity for the president to take a step back and change his presidential guidance on how we disrupt terrorism around the world. We have missed dozens and dozens of opportunities to take really bad people off the battlefield.