The jihadist ISIS insurgents aren't just hell-bent on dominating Iraq, their "expansionist ideology" will eventually lead to an attack on the United States, Sen. Marco Rubio says.
In his chilling assessment for Time.com
Friday, the Florida Republican, a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Select Intelligence Committees, says President Barack Obama was right to use military force to protect America's diplomats and military personnel in Iraq.
"But this should not be our only goal," he wrote.
"If we do not continue to take decisive action against ISIS now, it will be not just Iraqis or Syrians who continue to suffer, it will likely be Americans, as a result of a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland or on our personnel overseas," he warns.
"America was faced with the same choice President Clinton faced in the 1990s during the emergence of al Qaeda: take action now, or we will be forced to take action in the future."
Rubio noted recent history shows "terrorist groups, once established, use safe havens to launch attacks on the United States and our interests."
"We ignore this history at our own peril," he warns.
The extremist ISIS, which emerged from al Qaeda, has been tormenting religious minorities
in Iraq, even as they've seized bridges, dams and other infrastructure
Iraqi towns and communities rely on.
But Rubio says ISIS, "with thousands of foreign fighters, many of them from the West, will not rest" after taking the Kurdish capital of Irbil or Baghdad.
"Its expansionist ideology will lead it to attack U.S. allies in the region and eventually Europe and the United States," he asserts.
Rubio calls for an increase of military and humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi government, as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Rubio's warning echoes one issued by Senate Intelligence head Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Roll Call reports.
"It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries, training them to fight its battles in the Middle East and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard," Feinstein said in a statement backing Obama's airstrike authorization.
She also called for a broader military campaign against ISIS.
"It takes an army to defeat an army, and I believe that we either confront [ISIS] now or we will be forced to deal with an even stronger enemy in the future," she said. "Inaction is no longer an option."
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