Ohio lawmakers say they are concerned that the United States is not acting effectively enough to fight ISIS, and they say the Obama administration must appear more decisive in order to unite its allies.
In Turkey on Monday, President Barack Obama said the U.S. strategy on ISIS is working. The president said he would intensify airstrikes. but said results will take time.
“We have the right strategy, and we’re going to see it through,” Obama said.
Obama announced a new effort to share intelligence with France following the coordinated terror spree across Paris that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds. Officials said the U.S. was already using intelligence to help France identify targets for the airstrikes.
The president conceded there were challenges in defeating the Islamic State given that its fighters have a “willingness to die.”
“If you have a handful of people who don’t mind dying, they can kill a lot of people,” he said.
Republican lawmakers said Obama’s comments on ISIS lacked force, and they said beyond his insistence on not bringing in more ground troops, he appears to lack an overall strategy to fight the terrorist organization.
Rep. Mike Turner, who sits on the Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee, said he regularly receives classified briefings about ISIS. What he’s hearing there, he said, is far more urgent than the characterizations he is hearing from the White House.
“They continue to pose a real threat to us,” the Dayton Republican said. “They are organized and capable and the president needs to show international leadership and act.”
He said Obama has appeared unmoved by the videos of the killings occurring in Syria and Iraq “but now, with the murderous assault on Paris, clearly the President needs to take action.”
“This is an issue of strategy,” he said. “The president has no strategy.””
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he is worried that the administration is “downplaying” the threat rather than facing it head-on. “The U.S. needs an aggressive and coordinated strategy with allies to defeat ISIS,” he said. “Working with others, we must lead the effort to degrade and destroy, not contain, Islamic extremism wherever it resides. We cannot wait for the next attack on an ally or on American soil.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the U.S. must work with allies to “degrade and defeat” ISIS.
“That means a solution that addresses the underlying religious, economic, and social challenges facing the region,” Brown said, but added, “should the President seek to commit American combat troops, then he must come to Congress with a plan and seek authorization for it.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, meanwhile, called for the terrorist organization to be “completely destroyed.”
“We can no longer sit back and forfeit our leadership role while ISIS continues to terrorize our allies, and commit crimes against humanity in the Middle East,” he said. “ISIS is the most violent Islamic terrorist group in the world today. It’s time that we treat them as the threat to western civilization that they are.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is running for president, meanwhile, has organized a press conference at the National Press Club Tuesday to discuss the threat of ISIS.
Appearing on Fox News Monday, he said the U.S. must rely on strong intelligence and coalition building in order to fight ISIS.
“We have to let people know that savages like this are not something we can tolerate in this world,” he said, adding, “and if it means at the end of the day that the United States put boots on the ground, so be it – as long as it’s a coalition,”
The governor has called for no-fly zones on the Turkish and Jordanian border, saying he believes that the Kurds and Jordanians could defend it. He also said that NATO should implement Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which requires NATO members to mutually defend each other when attacked.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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