Congressman Thornberry Comments on President’s Plan For ISIL - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Congressman Thornberry Comments on President’s Plan For ISIL

Thursday was the last day of a White House three day summit on countering violent extremism.  This included ISIL.

U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry was in Wichita Falls and commented on the issue.  He said he did not see any good, usable, or productive ideas brought up during the summit.

The goal of the summit was to find a way to not only defeat ISIL and other extremist groups on the battlefield, but also to defeat them in the battle for the hearts and minds of young people. 

President Barack Obama said it's going to take a global effort to defeat extremists.  However, Congressman Thornberry said it should not be done by sending thousand of U.S. troops to fight.

He explained the president has sent a request to congress to authorize the use of military force against ISIL.

“The United States will do more to help counter hateful ideologies and today I urge your nations to joins us in this urgent war,” President Obama said.

Congressman Thornberry said he feels everyone acknowledges that the U.S. isn't going to defeat ISIL from the air.

“There's going to have to be somebody's boots on the ground,” Congressman Thornberry said.

However, he said the war isn't just on the battlefield.

Representative Thornberry said, “I do agree that social media is a key battlefield in this ideological struggle.”

Terrorist groups are effectively using social media sites to target vulnerable young people.  ISIL and other extremist groups have already recruited around 20,000 people from around the world to join their fight in Syria.  This is according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

We need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace, tolerance, and inclusion and we especially need to do it online,” President Obama said.

Congressman Thornberry said it's very important that we all understand the battle is against an ideology and against individuals who have committed horrible acts.

President Obama said, “These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy and all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam.”

However, Representative Thornberry said he has some concerns about the request to authorize military action.

He said, “I worry that the president is putting so many conditions and restrictions that it's going to be more about the lawyers than it is about the troops and winning.”

He explained he has two questions.

“Does the president have a strategy to win, or is this more a holding action where he's just trying to minimize the political damage.

Secondly, Congressman Thornberry wants to know how the conditions and restrictions with the request will work for the men and women that actually have to live under them.  However, he does agree something needs to be done.

He said, “The U.S. has to play a key role from the air, advising and training.  Also, helping to direct some of the airstrikes, gathering intelligence on the ground.”

Representative Thornberry said the House Armed Services Committee will have their first hearing on the request from the president on February 26th, 2015.  He explained he is not sure what will happen.  However, he said something needs to be done to stop ISIL.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6
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