President’s National Security Planby Senator John Boozman
Posted on 2015-02-12
BOOZMAN. Mr. President, on the same week that the President
released his national strategy, a pilot in the Royal Jordanian Air
Force was burned alive by radical Islamists.
While the administration was putting the finishing touches on this document, the propaganda wing of ISIS was busy too. The jihadist group was pumping out a video of this latest act of horrific brutality.
ISIS represents one of the biggest threats to peace of an already unstable region. These terrorists are committed to establishing a new caliphate ruled by shari'a law where all would be forced to convert or die. They are committed to destroying all who stand in their way. If anyone embodies radical Islam, it is ISIS.
Given the severity of the threat posed by ISIS, not to mention continuing efforts of Al Qaeda to strike again, you would think a plan to take on radical Islam would be a focal part of the President's national security plan. It is not. In fact, there is no mention of radical Islam in the document at all.
What is mentioned instead is global warming. Yes, global warming is discussed in the President's national security strategy, but not radical Islamic extremism. Apparently that is not a threat to the United States. The President and his advisers have stood by this senseless narrative.
In a lengthy interview with Vox, the President essentially blamed the media for overhyping the threat of terrorism. He went on to say that terrorism sells because it is ``all about the ratings,'' and climate change is ``a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis.'' Yesterday the White House spokesman was pressed on this very issue and refused to accept the premise that terrorist groups such as ISIS pose a ``greater clear and present danger'' than global warming. So you can see the disconnect that exists within the administration. But it doesn't end with just this document.
The President's budget proposal for the Department of Homeland Security would allocate tens of millions of dollars to protect against climate change. It does so by failing to dedicate funds for communities to identify and disrupt homegrown terror, despite the fact that ISIS is recruiting foreign fighters at a clip never seen before. While the majority of them are from the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reports that upwards of 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS in the past 2 years.
The group's savvy use of social media and its highly orchestrated propaganda campaign has appealed to Westerners as well, bringing thousands of jihadists with passports that allow them to travel with ease to ISIS-controlled territory. Where they will ultimately take the deadly skills they learned in Iraq and Syria remains to be seen. These foreign fighters could return home or even come to the United States, giving ISIS the ability to strike on American soil. The recent attacks in Paris serve as a vivid reminder that the reach of radical Islam extends far beyond the jihadi fighters on the ground in Iraq and in Syria.
[[Page S953]] Meanwhile, the Democrats in this Chamber, at the behest of the President, are holding up the House-passed DHS appropriations bill. Senate Democrats voted three times to filibuster the House-passed Department of Homeland Security funding bill last week. Their objection is that it withholds funding from the President's unconstitutional Executive actions on immigration. They are holding up the entire bill and threatening to shut down DHS to protect the President's priority-- not because the funding is too low or because the programs need reforms. Their complaint is that the President is not getting what he wants.
I encourage them to relent on their filibuster so we can debate the bill, make changes if the Chamber sees fit, and send it to the President. If the President truly wants immigration reform, then do it the right way and work with Congress to get it done. Don't go about it on your own unconstitutionally and then threaten to shut down a department charged with protecting Americans. It is out of touch, but it is not the first time this administration's priorities have been at odds with those of the American people.
The President once characterized ISIS as the JV team. This is no JV team. As the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee noted, ISIS is the ``largest convergence of Islamist terrorists in history'' that has created a ``pseudo-state dead set on attacking America.'' Preventing ISIS from achieving its goals takes a clear, forceful security strategy both abroad and at home. What the President has put forward is neither.
With that, I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Missouri.