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ISIS John McCain Lindsay Graham

New York Times op-ed

29 Aug, 2014

McCain and Graham criticize BarackĀ Obama’s approach to the conflict:

The president clearly wants to move deliberately and consult with allies and Congress as he considers what to do about ISIS. No one disputes that goal. But the threat ISIS poses only grows over time. It cannot be contained. It must be confronted. This requires a comprehensive strategy, presidential leadership and a far greater sense of urgency.

A comprehensive approach would include military actions in Syria:

But ultimately, ISIS is a military force, and it must be confronted militarily. Mr. Obama has begun to take military actions against ISIS in Iraq, but they have been tactical and reactive half-measures. Continuing to confront ISIS in Iraq, but not in Syria, would be fighting with one hand tied behind our back. We need a military plan to defeat ISIS, wherever it is.

The U.S. must support Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni tribes, moderate forces in Syria and effective units of the Iraqi security forces with arms, intelligence and military assistance, but avoid supporting Iranian troops. Supplying more assets, troops, resources and time could involve revising the Authorization for Use of Military Force, and employing an Afghanistan-like approach. They say other presidents successfully changed their tactics in response to the Soviet Union, Balkans and Iraq:

ISIS presents Mr. Obama with a similar challenge, and it has already forced him to begin changing course, albeit grudgingly. He should accept the necessity of further change and adopt a strategy to defeat this threat. If he does, he deserves bipartisan support. If he does not, ISIS will continue to grow into an even graver danger to our allies and to us.