Obama calls for Islamic State air strikes; Rep. Hudson, Sen. Hagan weigh in


First Posted: 9/10/2014

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s congressman says he supports President Barack Obama’s decision to green-light air strikes against Islamic State militants, but said he is still not sure the president has a complete plan.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-Concord, released the following statement Wednesday night following the president’s address to the nation:

“As chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, I frequently receive classified briefings and am very aware of the severe threat posed by ISIS. It’s unfortunate it took so long for the President to present the American people with a plan. The steps that President Obama laid out in his speech tonight may be the right ones to take, but I remain concerned how they fit into a broader strategy to ultimately defeat this enemy. I was disappointed the President didn’t clearly articulate that larger strategy.

“If left unchecked and unhindered, these barbaric terrorists will continue to grow and pose a threat not only to regional stability, but to the world at large and the U.S. homeland. That is why the United States must act now to dismantle and destroy ISIS wherever they seek safe haven. I remain committed to working with my colleagues and the Administration to achieve this goal.”

Hudson represents North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, which includes all of Richmond County.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, also weighed in on the president’s address to the nation. Her statement is as follows:

“ISIS presents a severe threat to our national security, and their murder of two American journalists is an attack on America and our values. We must respond, and we will respond, by taking immediate, sustained, and decisive action to destroy ISIS.

The President and our military leadership have now developed a plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels and defeat ISIS with a sustained campaign of airstrikes. As long ago as the spring of last year, I pressed the Administration to arm and empower moderate Syrian rebels and I am glad that effort will be accelerated.

Because ISIS poses a threat to many countries around the world, and especially those in the Middle East, I believe that this effort must be carried out in conjunction with our allies and other Arab states. America has urgent priorities at home as well as abroad, and the cost cannot be borne by the United States alone.

Finally, I am proud to represent the most military friendly state in the nation. At times like these, our men and women in uniform deserve our full and unwavering support, and the American people should expect better than the same political games and partisan point-scoring that too often dominate Washington debates. This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to provide the support that our military requires and deserves.”

ORIGINAL STORY

By Julie Pace

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Opening a new military front in the Middle East, President Barack Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes inside Syria for the first time Wednesday night, along with expanded strikes in Iraq as part of a broad mission to root out the violent Islamic State militants whose reign of terror has spread across both countries.

“We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Obama declared in a prime-time address to the nation from the White House. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Obama announced that he was dispatching nearly 500 more U.S. troops to Iraq to assist that country’s besieged security forces, bringing the total number of American forces sent there this summer to more than 1,000. He also called on Congress to authorize a program to train and arm Syrian rebels who are fighting both the Islamic State militants and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Obama’s plans amounted to a striking shift for a president who rose to political prominence in part because of his early opposition to the Iraq war. While in office, he has steadfastly sought to wind down American military campaigns in the Middle East and avoid new wars — particularly in Syria, a country where the chaos of an intractable civil war has given the Islamic State space to thrive and move freely across the border with Iraq.

Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Obama’s plans were also an admission that years of American-led war in the Middle East have not quelled the terror threat emanating from the region.

Obama insisted he was not returning U.S. combat troops to the Middle East. Even so, he acknowledged that “any time we take military action, there are risks involved, especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions.”

“But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” he added.

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