I had a great day of visits on Capitol Hill with Members of the U.S. Senate and House on Tuesday, more to come today. In my position as President/CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, I try to make a monthly visit to DC to hear the concerns of my former colleagues and assess how our policy research can assist.
There were two prevailing issues consistent with every Member with whom I visited — the Paris Islamic terror attack and response, and Syrian refugees.
On the first, I addressed what needs to happen with the opportunity to build on a solid coalition to defeat ISIS. I stressed this is not about nation-building and fixing roads and schools — this is about a deliberate strike operation to bring ISIS to its knees, rendering them incapable of pursuing their goals and objectives.
I know French President Hollande is angered by the heinous and savage attack on his people — but the declaration of “eradicating terrorism” is not a viable objective. I would say that defeating the Islamo-fascist ideology is attainable.
Many asked me about committing U.S. troops to ground combat operations and I stated it would be necessary. However, with the right leader and rules of engagement that support victory — and not playing hopscotch — combined with a coalition of French, Russian, Kurdish, Egyptian, UAE and Jordanian forces, this would be a noble and achievable endeavor. But, with the current president, that is simply not going to happen.
I have to ask regarding all this bombing going on in and around Raqqa, Syria, if our vaunted Obama coalition airstrikes were so successful, what are the French and Russians bombing?
Furthermore, we heard so much about restrictions due to collateral damage — are those restrictions in place for France and Russia? It appears to me that President Obama has been deceiving the American people and as believed, our pilots are bombing dirt, or perhaps a truck here and there.
The French are deploying an aircraft carrier. Meanwhile our carrier battle group (CVBG) capability in the Persian Gulf has been degraded.
I always laugh when folks ask me how many troops will it take. My response today was that’s a question planners answer when they know the what are the desired effects – that’s called “effects based operations.”
My recommendation is an operation focused on “defeating” ISIS — to destroy ISIS would mean that every single member would have to be killed or captured, and I prefer killed. That’s a heavy lift. The best effect to impart upon ISIS is to defeat them, and that means their capability and capacity.
Degrading ISIS is too light of a task. And instead of Secretary of State Kerry going to Paris and trying to rationalize the Charlie Hebdo attack, he should be building the coalition of force to defeat ISIS. And, also, Kerry, along with Ash Carter, should be advising President Obama on a NATO Article V declaration.
The second issue about which many asked my assessment was the Syrian refugee question. As you know, many U.S. governors have said NO.
As reported by Fox News, “The Paris terror attacks may have put a clamp on President Obama’s plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, as the number of governors saying they won’t take them swells. At the same time, top congressional lawmakers are urging the administration to halt the plan. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul called on Obama to “temporarily suspend the admission of all additional Syrian refugees” pending a “full review,” according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
The resistance at the state level is coalescing at a rapid clip. So far, governors in at least 17 states — as of Tuesday evening the count is up to some 33 states — have moved to suspend or restrict the refugee resettlement, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.
“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being resettled in Texas,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a letter to Obama.” Kinda nice living in Texas and having a governor of whom you can be proud.
Here is my assessment, and I care little for the liberal progressive rhetoric about “un-American” and “racist” — this is about our national security. We do not have the adequate security protocols and vetting processes in place to validate the immigration of Syrian refugees.
These are not normal times, we are in a time of war, regardless of what President Obama thinks in his mind. We can ill afford to allow the enemy a Trojan Horse opportunity and I find it unconscionable that Obama would release Yemeni Islamic terrorists from GITMO two days after the Paris Islamic jihadist attack.
First, we must end the practice of allowing military-aged single males entry into Western nations — that means 16-40 years of age. I would also have a hard scrutiny on any single females aged 21-40. If I were to give a priority, the first would be to Syrian Christians who have faced the hardest persecution. Next I would assess those who are handicapped. The following prioritized group would be elderly, meaning men and women 60 years or older. Then I would examine the possibility for females with children younger than 10 years of age.
Yes, I am compassionate — for the American people. Let us not forget that we allowed an open policy for Somali refugees and what has happened in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area? At this time there are some 25 Somali military aged males missing — and I’m not talking about milk carton missing, you know where they are.
There are no definitive background check systems in Syria, and I don’t think Bashar Assad and his government would be very forthcoming to Jeh Johnson or our FBI with computer files — like they exist anyway.
With the current security situation, we need to halt this and follow the practice of the French and Belgians right now which is to seek out and eliminate Islamic jihadists cells in America.
Yesterday while doing an office visit on the House side, I had the opportunity to see the draft piece of legislation being proposed. It referred to only allowing Syrian refugee entry if Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson gave his validation.
Now, let me remind you how insidious that is. Jeh Johnson is the same guy who stated at the Aspen Institute that we cannot say Islamic with terrorism because that is offensive. And that was said after the Chattanooga Islamic jihadist attack. The only validation would be if Johnson, or Obama, accepted criminal responsibility for any Syrian refugee who committed a crime.
But you know what? I have to ask a simple question: why are we bantering back and forth about the Syrian Muslim refugees? Why aren’t Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the other oil rich Gulf Cooperation Council states stepping up and taking care of their own? Who the heck made the decision that it was the responsibility of Europe or America? I applaud the Jordanians who are being overrun with refugees, but what about these other rascals?
The Paris Islamic terrorist attack should be seen as a vital turning point. The war against Islamo-fascism and jihadism continues on, it is not over. ISIS, an enemy once defeated, has reminded us of such. These are not normal times and they are not the times when we need an intransigent ideologue solely interested in his own desires and incapable of admitting being wrong to lead.
Tuesday after finishing my meetings, I met a young man named Amir while heading down to the Capitol South Metro station. Amir smiled as he asked if I was “Allen West” — he said he disagreed with everything I say but complimented me on being a gentleman.
We had a short conversation as we walked down to the train platform. I asked him about American exceptionalism, our military strength, and the Syrian refugee issue and presented my thoughts about military-aged single males — about all of which he agreed. We gave each other a “bro shake” and embraced as two Americans and bid each other farewell. So much for his disagreeing with everything I say.