Ron Johnson: ISIS a 'Gathering Storm' That's Not Going Away

Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 10:55 AM

By Greg Richter

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The threat from the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq is not going away without the United States taking military action against it, Sen. Ron Johnson told "Fox News Sunday."

Johnson described the threat of the group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, as a "gathering storm" that will eventually have to be faced on American soil if not stopped now.

The Wisconsin Republican is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was joined on Fox News by New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Both agreed that military action is necessary and urged President Barack Obama to seek a use-of-force authorization from Congress.

"They are finding out that trying to act militarily with the current authorizations in place is becoming pretty tenuous," Johnson said. He said he was encouraged that the White House recently invited several members of Congress to meet with his counsel about a new authorization of use for military force, which Johnson called "long overdue."

Americans may be war weary, Johnson said, but ISIS is not. He pointed out that ISIS's "method of diplomacy" is beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions or live burials, enslavement of women or forced marriages.

"These are evil people. They need to be defeated," he said. "I'm glad that President Obama is finally beginning to act."

Engel said he would like to see the administration bomb ISIS targets in Syria. The moderate Syrian opposition, which is fighting the Bashar al-Assad government, has requested the action because it is facing defeat.

"I think we should consider doing it because this one war," Engel said. "It's spilling from Syria into Iraq, the border is obliterated. … I think we need to fight ISIS wherever they rear their ugly heads."

Though he opposes it, Engel admitted the United States may ultimately have boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS, which has threatened to bring the battle to U.S. soil —  a threat taken seriously by American intelligence.

"We have bad choices," Engel said, "and the worst choice is to do nothing."

On the crisis in Ukraine, both men agreed that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be met with force because it is the only language he understands. He already has taken over Crimea from Ukraine and it is feared he has his eyes on eastern Ukraine.

"I keep hearing administration officials saying that they want to offer an off-ramp to Vladimir Putin," Johnson said. "He's not looking for off-ramps; he's looking for on-ramps."

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