Tags: Barack Obama | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Tom Ridge | mole | whack | ISIS

Tom Ridge: Obama's 'Whack-a-Mole' Approach to ISIS Isn't Working

Image: Tom Ridge: Obama's 'Whack-a-Mole' Approach to ISIS Isn't Working
(Drew Angerer/Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Jul 2015 11:26 AM

President Barack Obama's "whack-a-mole" approach to fighting Islamic State militants "clearly is not working," former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Tuesday, as the terrorists are just expanding their reach as a result.

"I think it was last August the president said, 'Well, we need a strategy,'" said Ridge on CNN's "Newsroom" program, pointing out that just before that Obama said, "with great disdain," that ISIS was "just a JV team and we shouldn't be worried about them."

And then a couple of weeks ago, said Ridge, Obama said the United States needs a "comprehensive" strategy, and "I think we're all waiting to figure out what the strategy is. The fact of the matter is, the president is somewhat condemned by his own word," he continued, as "this JV team has 50 percent of the territory in Syria."

On Monday, Obama outlined his administration's policy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State (known as ISIS or ISIL).

"To the American people, I want to say we will continue to be vigilant. And we will ultimately prevail," Obama told the media following a meeting with Pentagon commanders.

But, he warned, "This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic and is nimble."

The United States-led coalition's airstrikes are showing some benefits, said Ridge, but at the end of the day, "I don't think there are too many military commanders in this country or elsewhere who think you're going to destroy ISIL without ground troops — experienced, well trained, well equipped ground troops."

Successful airstrikes that take out tanks and other military equipment are being celebrated, he said, "but you really have not done much to limit their capability. You've done absolutely nothing to destroy their reach as they expand globally."

Ridge believes Obama "has to be much more assertive," and wonders why he has not engaged countries like Egypt and Jordan, which have significant military capabilities.

"Why the president has not engaged them to be a part of the on-the-ground effort in their neighborhood is a mystery to me," he said. "Why are we not leading a coalition that includes troops and equipment from the neighborhood?

"Because that's where the instability is and the chaos is, and they have to contribute to the defeat of ISIL."

Meanwhile, the United States has made it more difficult for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like the 9/11 attacks, but "the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is harder to detect and harder to prevent," said Ridge. "That's the reason the FBI has become much more aggressive over the past couple of months trying to identify these individuals."

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President Barack Obama's "whack-a-mole" approach to fighting Islamic State militants "clearly is not working," former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Tuesday, as the terrorists are just expanding their reach as a result.
Tom Ridge, mole, whack, ISIS, Islamic State, CNN
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2015-26-07
Tuesday, 07 Jul 2015 11:26 AM
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