WASHINGTON — Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul presented the fight with ISIS as the defining conflict of our time on Thursday at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and said the president’s strategy is designed more for political, not actual battles.
“I believe we are now entering the defining struggle of our generation and beyond,” said McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “The president’s reluctance to lead has invited danger to our doorstep.”
McCaul said President Obama has always downplayed the ISIS threat, and even compared the situation to World War II.
“We didn’t take the words of Adolph Hitler seriously until the foot soldiers of the Third Reich marched across Europe. We didn’t take the words of Vladimir Lenin seriously until Communism spread across the globe. And unfortunately the president didn’t take the words of groups like ISIS seriously until they established a sweeping self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate.”
The barbarians are now at the gate, according to McCaul, and it is time for the nation to confront them.
However, he said Obama’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), submitted Feb. 11 to Congress, is nothing but a “political document” that demonstrates the president’s failure to lead, and inability to face the situation that the congressman considers a war.
Moderator Frederick W. Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Program at AEI, pointed out to McCaul the “cognitive dissonance” in how unusual it is to see so much disagreement between the White House and Congress on what should be basic facts.
“He’s wrestling internally with his campaign narrative,” McCaul replied. “It’s almost like he’s not attending briefings, or if he is, he’s being deceptive to the American people.”
McCaul said Obama’s plan of doubling down on “strategic patience” in effect ties the hands of our generals, and that he “would rather have no AUMF than the one he proposed.”
“What we really need is urgent action,” said McCaul, which to him means accepting the “weighty responsibilities that belong to a great nation.”
“The Free World, when confronted with such a persistent threat to its basic values cannot retreat from this. We must act,” he said.
McCaul recommended that, in the same manner of Churchill, Reagan and Thatcher, the U.S. rally the world around a grand offensive strategy to roll back and defeat the Islamist terror groups wherever they are, and that we should reserve the right to use every tool to do so.
Kagan recognized, however, that this type of strategy would require a lot more ground troops and authorization from Congress than the president asked for, or claims to want.
“Would he veto a bill that gives him more authority?” Kagan asked.
McCaul replied, “That’s a battle I would like to have.”