Will any of Obama’s ISIS proposals succeed?

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Big Talk But No Votes From GOP on ISIS Fight.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minutes after a solemn President Barack Obama spelled out his plans to protect Americans from terrorism, Marco Rubio declared that he “may have made things worse.” Jeb Bush called the president “weak” and his approach “business as usual.” And Donald Trump declared on Twitter, “We need a new President – FAST!” Yet beneath their harsh rhetoric lies a fundamental political reality: Few in the Republican Party’s 2016 class would break significantly with the Democratic president’s approach to combating the Islamic State group.A majority of Americans support sending ground troops to fight Isil as public confidence in President Barack Obama’s ability to tackle terrorism reached a record low. The avalanche of Republican criticism that continued Monday focused on the president’s tone, his word choice and the fine points of his plans — not in most cases the specific policy prescriptions he presented in his address from the Oval Office Sunday night.

It’s been sixteen months since the U.S. began fighting ISIS with air strikes, citing an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The shift towards support for boots on the ground came as a new photograph emerged of Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik entering the United States. The couple, who killed 14 people in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California last week, were pictured going through customs at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on July 27, 2014. Still, he chided Obama’s planning for lacking “the intensity that’s necessary.” “He needed to persuade people that our fears will subside when we’re engaged actively in the destruction of ISIS, and from there you would have a strategy that would be much more comprehensive,” said Bush. It also emerged that Malik had previously studied at a high-profile madrassa in Multan, Pakistan which has been criticised for promoting a conservative strain of Islam.

David Bowdich, the FBI’s assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles field office, said on Monday night the couple was radicalised for “quite some time” before the December 2 shooting. “But I will say this – as the investigation has progressed, we have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalised and have been for quite some time,” he said. (We don’t need this) He gave a detailed defence of his strategy to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and warned against being “drawn into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria”. That’s because lawmakers have little to gain but plenty to lose by voting on whether to authorize military force that is, oh by the way, already underway and progressing with or without their say-so. “There’s no agreement on the fundamentals,” said Phil Carter, the director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program for the nonprofit, nonpartisan national security think tank, the Center for a New American Security. But a new CNN/ORC poll showed 53 per cent of Americans are now in favour of sending in ground troops, a figure that has risen from 38 per cent in September. Lindsey Graham, the uber-hawkish, low-polling South Carolinian who has focused much of his presidential bid on calling for ground forces to fight ISIS.

On the Democratic side, it’s just not popular to reengage in military action. “The Democratic base is unlikely to support a return to the Bush-era wars in the Middle East,” Binder said in an email. There are specific differences in some cases — most notably on the GOP’s support (shared by Democratic contender Hillary Clinton) for a no-fly zone in Syria.

It showed 81 per cent believed Isil terrorists were already in America with the ability to launch a major attack, and 61 per cent were against allowing Syrian refugees to seek asylum. Rubio, when asked how he’d differ from Obama, focused on style rather than substance: “First, we would be straight forward and honest with the American people,” the first-term Florida senator said on Fox News. “ISIS is a growing, significant and very serious threat. That’s a far broader AUMF than the president requested in February, when he asked for a three-year authorization of force, but vowed “no enduring offensive combat troops.” There’s a third, more cautious AUMF on the table as well, introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Fluke (R-Ariz.) authorizing military force but prohibiting ground troops in most instances and ending some previous authorizations.

Mr Rubio said: “People are scared not just because of these attacks but because of a growing sense that we have a president that is completely overwhelmed by them.” Ted Cruz, the hard line Texas senator who has been surging in Republican polls, said: “If I am elected president I will direct the department of defence to destroy Isil and I will shut down the broken immigration system that is letting jihadists into our country. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Isil had become “the most effective recruiter in the world” and called on US technology companies to block their websites and encrypted communications. In other words, even as Congress seems to be okay with Obama’s actual use of force, coming up with a specific use of force resolution that assuages concerns of and satisfies both sides would be a difficult trick. But they can set up a legal authorization that would allow him, or his successor, to use the kind of force, or set the kind of limits, they’d like to see in the fight. She said: “You are going to hear all the familiar complaints, ‘freedom of speech’ (but) we need to put the great disrupters at work at disrupting Isil.” Ray Peters, manager of Range, Guns & Safes in Atlanta, said: “Everyone is reporting up, every store, every salesman, every distributor.

For Republicans, what good is it giving Obama wide latitude to fight terrorism when their presidential candidates are on the campaign trail every day criticizing the president’s effectiveness? There currently are about 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, and Obama had previously announced he was sending fewer than 50 special operations forces to Syria. With just 40 percent of the public approving of Obama’s handling of terrorism of late, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in the days after the attacks in Paris, Republicans have a solid political argument to make for why they should be in the White House. Cruz, while campaigning in South Carolina on Monday, said the air campaign against the ISIS militants is a “photo op foreign policy.” He promised in an earlier radio interview to “carpet-bomb them into oblivion.” He also supports sending arms directly to the ethnic Kurds to help defeat ISIS fighters. Altogether, fighter jets, bombers, attack planes and drones are dropping an average of 2,228 bombs per month on Islamic State targets: training camps, machine gun positions, oil facilities, weapons shacks and more.

But ghosts of past blank checks — the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War or even the most recent Iraq War — would warn that might be a bad idea, Carter said. Last month, Rubio told an Iowa radio host that he’d support an AUMF if it were broad enough, but that he thinks Obama already has all the authority he needs. “I would support an AUMF—of course it has to be properly structured. And the Pentagon says it is already arming ethnic Kurds in Iraq in a way that allows the Iraqi government to see the contents and give customs approval.

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