Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Iraq | Obama | Johnson | ISIS

Sen. Ron Johnson: Obama 'Lost the Peace' in Iraq

By    |   Saturday, 15 November 2014 04:11 PM

The best way to stop the Islamic State is "to make ISIS look like losers," Sen. Ron Johnson told Newsmax.

"As long as they’re perceived as winning, they’re going to effectively recruit jihadists from around the world — which is extremely dangerous for the rest of the world," the Wisconsin Republican, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview. "All they have to do to be perceived as winning is not losing."

The first-term senator pointed to an audio tape posted online this week that purported to contain the voice of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who encouraged attacks to continue in Saudi Arabia.

He also slams President Barack Obama's decision on Nov. 7 to send additional troops to Iraq.

"He’s just taunting America — and by taunting America, he's showing us he’s not losing," Johnson said. "He's going to continue to be able to attract and recruit jihadists from around the world.

"Our goal right now has got to make ISIS look like losers so that they will stop recruiting."

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this week that he would recommend to Obama that he deploy U.S. ground forces to Iraq if the expanded airstrikes and other efforts fail.

"To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee, using an alternative name for the terrorist group.

But when pressed under questioning by senators, Dempsey said he would "go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of ground forces."

Dempsey's commitment files in the face of Obama's longstanding position of not putting combat troops on the ground.

As such, this reflects the "conundrum" facing the United States in its battle against the Islamic State, Johnson said.

"If we as America lead too much, then we’re not going to have a coalition partner. The Arab States will sit back, as they have in the past, and say, 'Well, OK, America is going to take care of this for us.'

"Right now, we’re leading too little — and we do not have any kind of robust response or a high enough participation level on the part of coalition partners," the senator added. "They’ve lent their names, a couple of sorties, some airstrikes, some support, but it’s minimal.

"What we really need is we need ground support. We need ground troops."

Despite the U.S.-led coalition hitting ISIS with as many as 35 airstrikes over three days this week, "we're not even close" to beating back the terrorist group, Johnson said.

"They’re better equipped, better trained — they control territory, they’re better resourced, they’re growing," he told Newsmax, noting that the Islamic State is estimated to stand about 40,000 strong. "There’s a disconnect between what resources, what capability we have, versus the stated goals of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS."

Still, Johnson believes the Islamic State can be annihilated, as the United States did with al-Qaida in Iraq.

"Are we going to wipe out every sympathetic member of ISIS? That is impossible to do, I’m sure," the senator acknowledged. "Can we destroy them to the point to where we had al-Qaida in Iraq destroyed? That’s possible, but it’s so much more difficult now."

That’s because Obama pulled U.S. troops out of Baghdad, starting in 2009. The withdrawal was completed in December 2012.

"What President Obama has done is lost the peace," Johnson said. "It might have been a fragile peace. I’m not saying it was a perfect coalition. I’m not saying they formed the perfect democracy. They’re a long way from it. It was going to take time.

"We were the glue that held that coalition together, and when President Obama made that strategic blunder of bugging out of Iraq, that’s where all this fell apart.

"Now, we’re in a far worse position than certainly we should have been," he added. "ISIS never should have been allowed to rise from the ashes. Had we stayed there, they probably wouldn’t have."

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The best way to stop the Islamic State is to make ISIS look like losers, Sen. Ron Johnson told Newsmax. As long as they're perceived as winning, they're going to effectively recruit jihadists from around the world - which is extremely dangerous for the rest of the world,...
Iraq, Obama, Johnson, ISIS
Saturday, 15 November 2014 04:11 PM
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