Friday, March 20, 2015
Billy Long: Our military must have the tools to combat ISIL
The federal government’s primary responsibility to the nation is providing for the common defense. Ensuring America is safe and secure shouldbe the utmost priority. Our Founding Fathers believed it to be so, placing it front and center in the Preamble to the Constitution. This is relevant now more than ever as America faces few graver threats than the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL.
In the past year, the world has watched in horror as the jihadist group of Islamic extremists take lives and territory while degrading the success of past American military efforts. American and coalition military efforts have met the militants on the front lines in cities and towns throughout Iraq and Syria with some success in depressing ISIL’s advances; but, the issue stretches far beyond geopolitics. This savage group has beheaded Americans and a number of others. Religious minorities, especially Christians, in the region have been the target of the Islamic extremist group’s heinous acts, such as the February 2015 beheadings of Egyptian Christian missionaries on a Libyan beach.
Recently, President Obama sent Congress his proposal for the Authorized Use of Military Force against ISIL. The proposal calls for a three-year anti-ISIL military operation without the option for “enduring ground combat operations” while ensuring proper oversight of the mission. However, Congress will not rubberstamp the president’s request, and we will have a rational debate to make certain the strongest steps are taken to ensure safety both at home and abroad.
ISIL and Islamic extremists are a serious threat to American interests and allies. We must show the world our nation has the resolve to defeat this threat. We must give our military the tools needed to defeat Islamic extremists and not tie the military’s hands and limit its options to defeating this threat. I look forward to a vigorous debate on steps forward as Congress considers the president’s request.