A U.S. senator warned on Thursday that ISIS, the militant terror group sweeping across Iraq, aims to destroy an American population center and is working on a plan to do it.
‘They’re crazy out there and they’re rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can’t believe that’s happening,’ Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Fox-25 television in Oklahoma City.
Inhofe, the ranking GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned that leaders of ISIS ‘are really bad terrorists. They’re so bad even al-Qaeda is afraid of them.’
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a fellow Oklahoma Republican and a committee member, told the Tulsa World that ISIS Islamists are ‘cutting children’s bodies in half. They’re shooting them. I’ve never seen anything like it.’
The Oklahoma senator warned that the US faces a novel and potentially catastrophic threat from ISIS, and said President Barack Obama isn’t up to the task of defeating the terror group
The warnings came after a stomach-churning video released Tuesday showed the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley at the hands of an ISIS militant, and on the heels of a press briefing where Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. military’s job is to ‘get ready’ for whatever battle might lie ahead.
ISIS is ‘as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,’ Hagel said, appearing alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
‘They’re beyond just a terrorist group,’ Hagel said. ‘They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded. …This is beyond anything we’ve seen, so we must prepare for everything.’
‘It’s a long-term threat,’ he conceded under questioning from reporters, adding moments later that ‘the president has been very clear on mission creep. And he’s made it very clear that he will not allow that.’
Gen. Dempsey warned that America’s involvement in Iraq will continue for years to come, citing the intensity of hatred among ethnic, religious and tribal groups there.
‘The conflict against those groups – most of which are local, some of which are regional, and some of which are global in nature – that’s going to be a very long contest,’ he said.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine said if America is going to do battle with ISIS, ‘we have to win’
‘It’s ideological. It’s not political. It’s religious in many cases. So, yes, it’s going to be a very long contest.’
Bridenstine said hours later that ‘if we’re going to do these kinds of operations, we have to win.’
But a frustrated Inhofe said Thursday night that he fears President Obama isn’t up to the task, despite the tough words he delivered Wednesday before hitting the golf course.
‘Obama’s lofty rhetoric is undermined by fainthearted follow-through and lack of meaningful action,’ he told the World.
‘The president’s limited strikes in Iraq have not halted ISIS’ momentum but only temporarily redirected it,’ said Inhofe. ‘Without sustained pressure, ISIS will regroup and continue its campaign of terror.’
‘We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation,’ he told Fox-25.
A top Marine general agreed on Wednesday, writing on the DefenseOne website that if the U.S. military doesn’t ‘eradicate’ ISIS now more attacks on the West will come.
General John Allen praised Obama for the ordering airstrikes on ISIS camps in northern Iraq, but he urged him to ‘move quickly to pressure the organisations entire “nervous system,” break it up, and destroy its pieces.’
‘The U.S. is now firmly in the game and remains the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence and strike capacity to deal with IS[IS],’ he wrote.
‘It is also the only power capable of organizing a coalition’s reaction to this regional and international threat.’
‘This group,’ he wrote, ‘is not a flash in the pan that will go away of its own accord or if we don’t poke at it.’
General Allen praised Obama for recent airstrikes, but urged him to ‘move quickly to pressure the organisations entire “nervous system”‘
Allen also denied that the U.S. military was war weary, saying it’s fully capable of attacking and reducing ISIS.
‘We should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give – and the most to lose – if the Islamic State’s march continues.’
‘If we delay now, we will pay later.’
The president told a global audience this week from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation spot that the U.S. ‘will continue to do what we must do to protect our people.’
‘We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.’
‘We act against ISIL, standing alongside others,’ Obama added, hinting at his ‘coalition’ strategy rather than a plan to strike unilaterally with overwhelming American force.
Inhofe, though, warned that without a concrete plan, Obama’s words ring hollow.
The video, uploaded to jihadi websites on Tuesday, shows the beginning of Foley’s decapitation – and then his severed head resting on top of his prone body
‘You have to come up with something that we’re going to do,’ the senator said, ‘because they’re holding another hostage in place.’
‘And the problem is, the president, quite frankly – he says all these things and he never does them.’
With the right strategy, he added, the U.S. could defeat ISIS on its home turf before the threat arrives on America’s doorstep.
‘This idea that they’re coming and infiltrating the United States – sure, some are coming in who have had an association with ISIS. But the majority of them are still over there,’ he said.
The senator also defended the United States government’s sweeping intelligence programs that have drawn barbs from civil libertarians, suggesting that information dragnets would play a part in keeping ISIS at bay.
‘You have to have an intelligence process going on to stop attacks on America,’ he said.