Ex-Cole Cmdr.: Keep All Options Open to Defeat ISIS

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 06:31 PM

By Greg Richter

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The United States must consider all options to project strength in its fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), including boots on the ground in Syria, says Kirk Lippold, former commander of the USS Cole.

Instead, the Obama administration is sending mixed signals, Lippold told Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama himself gave conflicting messages earlier Wednesday. He initially said the United States would "degrade and destroy" ISIS, but later said the goal was to shrink ISIS "to the point where it is a manageable problem."

Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said in a speech that the United States would follow the ISIS terrorists "to the gates of hell."

Biden's words may have been partly political because he may seek the presidency in 2016, but Lippold said the vice president also is a man who speaks from his heart even if he stumbles on his words occasionally.

"You know he's passionate about it," Lippold told Cavuto.

Obama, on the other hand, is showing that there is no comprehensive government strategy for how to deal with ISIS, either at the national security level or the military level, Lippold said.

ISIS, he noted, has gone from threats to actually harming and brutally slaughtering Americans. Two American journalists have been beheaded by the group in the past two weeks.

"That deserves to have a very cold, calculated response with very clear objectives," said Lippold, who commanded the Cole when it was attacked by al-Qaida terrorists in 2000.

"ISIS is becoming a small government," he said. Soon, they will be big enough to strike beyond the Middle East.

"I'm not sure that we really comprehend that threat yet," he said.

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