Peter King: US 'Should be Doing Much More Against ISIS'

Friday, 08 Aug 2014 06:10 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The United States should arm the Kurds and increase the number of fighter jets in its battle against the terror group ISIS in Iraq, U.S. Rep. Peter King urged on Friday.

"We should be attacking convoys of ISIS, we should be going after their command control centers and we should be doing much more air attacks against ISIS,'' King, a New York Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.

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"Also, we should be arming the Kurds. The Kurds are good fighters and the Kurds have been with us. That's the one element of Iraq that's always been pro-American going back well over 25 years.

"They've always been strong supporters of the United States. They were never the ones creating problems in Iraq that resulted after the war. They've been very, very supportive of us. We owe it to them to do what we can.''

The Kurds, made up largely of Sunni Muslims, have been pressing Washington for more arms and support, the Washington Post reports.

King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and chair of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, said he supports President Barack Obama's decision to strike ISIS.

The United States launched two sets of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq. The strikes hit ISIS artillery and troops.

American military planes also carried out airdrops of food and water to tens of thousands of Iraqi religious minorities atop a mountain surrounded by militants and desperately in need of supplies.

But King believes the commander-in-chief needs to be more forceful and is critical of his vow not to use ground troops.

"I can't understand a commander-in-chief taking action, but then seemingly talks about it … saying what he's not going to do. Why say you're not going to use ground troops? Why use expressions like we're not going to get dragged into a war?'' King said.

"It's sending a signal to ISIS that he's just waiting to get out of that. If we're going to take action, he should have never ever told the enemy what we're going to do, what we're not going to do. We decide that alone …

"I just can't imagine Dwight Eisenhower saying we're sending troops in here, but don't worry we're going to pull them back or we're sending them bombers, but we're not going to send in troops. You just don't do it … That's not going to put fear in the heart of the enemy.''

King said ISIS — which has been on a bloody killing spree of Christians as it attempts to establish a caliphate, a single Islamic state, across the Middle East — should be kept guessing.

"Right now, if they know definitively that we're not going to use ground troops — and the president has said that over and over in the last 18 hours — then ISIS can just step up their activity, make it more desperate than ever, knowing that we're not going to take action,'' King said.

"We're letting ISIS control the time table here, we're allowing them to control the level of battle and that's just wrong.''

King said the goal of ISIS is to destroy the United States.

An ISIS spokesman said in a video interview posted online on Thursday that the Islamic State has plans to attack America and raise "the flag of Allah in the White House."

"This is a group that Al-Qaida has [separated from] because they believe it's so dangerous and it's such a violent terrorist,'' he said.

"They have absolutely no sense of restraint. They just want to do whatever they can to attack us and they are much more powerful today than Al-Qaida was on Sept. 11, 2001.
"It cost several hundred thousand dollars for Al-Qaida to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. ISIS has over a billion dollars. Money they've stolen from banks, money they've got from kidnapping people, getting ransom.''

Congressional Republicans also support U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq on Friday, but warned that President Obama needed to develop a broader plan for the Middle East that would halt the development and expansion of such militant groups.

"The president’s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region," House Speaker John Boehner said. "Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration.

King admitted the U.S. may be at increased risk now that it is striking ISIS.

"We have to assume that any time we take action overseas that if Al-Qaida or ISIS can strike back, they will,'' he said.

"I'm not aware of any particular plots or threats, but we always have to go to a heightened level of awareness and concern whenever we take action.

"They are a real threat to us. They are the big leagues of terrorism. They have the training and they have many of the best Al-Qaida fighters.''

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Newsmax wire services and writer Todd Beamon contributed to this report.

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