The United States can't "sit back and be isolationists" when it comes to the Islamic State, Sen. Ron Johnson said Tuesday, and he is calling for an international coalition to defeat them before the problem continues to destabilize the Middle East and "potentially the world."
"What I've been suggesting is to assemble a coalition like [President] George H.W. Bush did in the first Gulf War, where the United States supplied about two-thirds of the troops and our coalition partners supplied about a third and paid for 85 percent of the effort," the Wisconsin Republican, who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
He said he does not know the number of troops such an effort would involve, but President Barack Obama has said the goal is to "degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS," and Johnson thinks that defeat should come "a lot sooner than ultimately."
"Every day that ISIS is not shown as a clear loser they are perceived as winning, and they'll continue to inspire the types of attacks we've seen here at Ft. Hood, Chattanooga, and Paris," he said. "Let's face it, this is a growing threat, it's a real threat, and we need to take it seriously."
Nobody wants to go to war, Johnson conceded, but "Islamic terrorists declared war on the civilized world a couple of decades ago and the war continues. I know President Obama wants to end all wars, but it takes two parties to either agree to end the war or one party has to be defeated. Looks like the only way we end this war we have to defeat Islamic terrorism."
Johnson said he does not think the numbers of ground forces need to be the same as during the first Gulf War, but he'd rather see the same kind of commitment to defeating ISIS, and the only country that can lead such an effort is the United States.
"What I'm being told, ISIS is not that effective militarily. They are effective [in the] use of social media and inspiring what we've seen in places like Paris," said Johnson. "Militarily we should be able to take care of them."
There will also need to be partnerships, such as with the Sunnis and the government in Baghdad to hold the territory, he said.
"The historic blunder was us pulling out of Iraq and not leaving a stabilizing force to be the glue that held that fragile coalition together," said Johnson. "It's a historic blunder and we're seeing the results of that."
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