At most, fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) with only airstrikes may halt the advance of the violent terror group, but will not defeat it, Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said Wednesday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV
"Airstrikes have some effectiveness, but they're not going to achieve the goal that President Obama himself said, which was ultimately defeat ISIS," Johnson said. "In the end, we've got to be realistic, face reality and realize that if we're going to achieve the goal, which I support of defeating ISIS, it's going to require boots on the ground
. We can debate and question which boots on the ground will actually do the work."
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Reports surfaced Tuesday that Islamic State is circling Baghdad despite the airstrikes.
President Barack Obama gravely erred when declaring that there will be no American ground troops sent to fight the Islamic State, according to Johnson, who noted that in 2007 it took 100,000 Sunnis, 100,000 Iraqi security forces, 150,000 American troops and about 35,000 to 40,000 in the combat role, to defeat fewer than 10,000 members of al-Qaida in Iraq.
"Now, we've got 31,000 or more members of ISIS, they're at the door of Baghdad, they control territory, they have resources, they have better weaponry and we've got to be realistic," he said. "We already have boots on the ground and we've got military advisers trying to whip the Iraqi security forces into shape so they can defend themselves.
"Hopefully, for the time being, they can hold off ISIS, but it is very unwise for any commander-in-chief to take any action off the ground that might be necessary to achieve the stated goal. That has always concerned me, whether it was in Afghanistan during the surge that President Obama announced and then at the same time announced the withdrawal. That's no way to win a war."
Obama waited far too long to acknowledge the threat presented by the Islamic State and again to act on it. Now America, and the world, is paying the price, Johnson said.
"What we're facing here is evil," he told host J.D. Hayworth. "What we have to defeat is evil and defeat barbarism. It sounds like President Obama is finally facing that reality, the reality that he's been denying. He believed his own narrative for far too long that the war on terror was over, that al-Qaida was on the run and it wasn't the case. The problem with this president is his strategy has always been one of leading from behind, trying to achieve peace through withdrawal and his actions have always been too little, too late."
Johnson also discussed with Hayworth the Ebola outbreak
in Africa and whether the virus can be contained. He’s concerned, he said, about the lax systems in place to deal with people entering the U.S., both those who come here lawfully and those who enter illegally.
"Let's hope and pray that the CDC is an effective government agency," he said. "I do believe that our public health systems are quite strong and we've got every capability of containing this particular case. What I'm not convinced of is that the protocols in terms of our immigration system and our border control – how are we handling flights in and out of. People moving from those countries where Ebola is running out of control.
"We need to strengthen the protocols of how we handle individuals that are visiting those countries, how do we monitor them and we should be looking at quarantine protocol. The last thing we wanted to see is Ebola leap from Africa into other nations, particularly not the U.S., but now it has happened. This is the time to rethink our public health protocols post haste."
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