Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | peter king | syria | obama | special forces

Rep. Peter King to Newsmax: Obama's Syrian Move 'Too Little, Too Late'

Image: Rep. Peter King to Newsmax: Obama's Syrian Move 'Too Little, Too Late'
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 30 Oct 2015 05:06 PM

Republicans Friday slammed President Barack Obama's decision to deploy 50 Special Operations forces into Syria to battle the Islamic State, with New York Rep. Peter King telling Newsmax that the move was "too little, too late."

"It's an admission by the president that his policy has failed, but this may be too little, too late," King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in an interview.

"It appears almost to be a Band-Aid or just a stop-gap until he's out of office.

"You're talking about Syrian troops, ISIS forces, Iranians, Russians all in that part of the world, in that country. How 50 American troops are going to make that big a difference without putting them at risk, the president hasn't answered that."

President Obama's decision represents an escalation of the U.S. fight against ISIS (or ISIL) in Syria, where Russia has begun its own air campaign against rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. officials have complained that the Russians have largely targeted moderate rebel forces instead of Islamic State militants.

Obama has long said that local forces must take the lead against the Islamic State, with training and assistance from the U.S.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the Special Forces would solely focus on coordinating local operations.

But King told Newsmax that "this is boots on the ground, and they are combat troops.

"They are going to be in a combat zone. They can certainly be fired on. They'll have to fire back," he said. "The president should not be playing word games with American lives — and that's what this is.

"These are American troops in harm's way, in a combat zone — and if you're a soldier in a combat zone, you're a combat troop.

"Why do we keep telling the enemy what we're going to do, what we're not going to do?" King asked. "Why doesn't the president level with the American people and say that if we have to defeat ISIS, we're going to have to do more than put 50 troops on the ground?

"If not, we should get out."

Other Republicans were just as critical of the president's decision.

"Unfortunately, this limited action is yet another insufficient step in the Obama administration's policy of gradual escalation," said Arizona Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Such grudging incrementalism is woefully inadequate to the scale of the challenge we face.

"Despite today's announcement, there is still no compelling reason to believe that anything we are currently doing will be sufficient to achieve the president's stated goal of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL," McCain said.

Another committee member, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, said that "history has shown that a gradual increase in military force to achieve a non-existent strategy is a recipe for failure.

"The president needs to lay out the United States' objective for President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS, as this conflict is clearly on the verge of becoming a proxy war with the direct involvement of Russia and Iran."

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who also sits on the panel, focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that he has "found an on-ramp and is partnering with Iran to prop up the Assad regime.

"American leadership is needed to assemble a broad coalition involving Western Europe and the Gulf states that can provide safe havens in Syria, stop the terrible displacement of refugees and de-escalate this war," he said.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator and Armed Services member, bashed the move on Twitter:



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Republicans Friday slammed President Barack Obama's decision to deploy 50 Special Operations forces into Syria to battle the Islamic State, with New York Rep. Peter King telling Newsmax that the move was too little, too late.
peter king, syria, obama, special forces, too late
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2015-06-30
Friday, 30 Oct 2015 05:06 PM
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