Editorial December 4, 2015

TheWeekinCongress.com

Editorial

Well, it’s an election year and if the American voters indicate they think all federal buildings should be painted orange, orange will be more than the new black but a mantra of paint promises and, of course, reasons why the current administration is dragging its feet on breaking out the brushes.

As Americans grow increasingly concerned about the threat of Daesh (ISIS) presidential candidates are all about the Administration dragging its feet and how they would take on the task of defeating that force of psychotic killers wrapped in the dream of creating a caliphate.

But, for the most part, candidates are just politicking when they should be reassuring voters that the defeat Daesh game is and has been afoot for over a year and involves far more than blowing them all up. In fact just blowing them up, we have learned, can inspire other factions in the area to take arms against the US in retribution. On top of that the factions who have opposed US intentions there have, in some cases, simply transferred their support from al Qaeda to Daesh because al Qaeda stopped paying and Daesh started. So, exactly where do you put those boots on the ground to insure the job gets done and keeps done without the same thing happening in the US absence as it did in Iraq?

As for inexplicable and unpredictable kinships let us not forget the Iraqi parliament’s position; we aim to send special ops to Iraq and the Iraqi parliament says they don’t want them in country. What the Administration knows and those newer Members of Congress apparently do not is just how intertwined and contradictory the multiple factors in the Middle East operate. Iraq pretty much came apart at the seams after the Bush deal to remove all troops by 2011. The opportunity came to return some US troops to Iraq but it was the Iraqi Parliament that nixed the proposal. So if we believe we can be effective by sending support troops to Iraq and Iraq says no, what do we do?

Because the threat has shown itself mostly in violent terror attacks on European soil the US response must take into account the role those countries must take in the fight against Daesh and, even after the Paris atrocities, European nations are somewhat dragging their feet on a major plan and commitment. Are we to define that for them?

With those unforgivable attacks, particularly in Paris, the US involvement in year-long  air strikes  is sometimes overlooked as are US efforts to undermine extensive Daesh financing. Also overlooked is the need for the US to be part of destroying Daesh, not the prime force, and the importance of taking in refugees from that part of the world which is appropriate but miscast from a decision-making basis of fear.

The refugees are desperate people; families, children driven to desperation by murdering crackpots. Part of  doing our part against Daesh is taking them in. Not taking them in because we fear there would be a Daesh terrorist in the group is a position that shows weakness;  It says we think Daesh is so effective we must ignore our humanitarian nature to stay safe..

If Members of Congress and presidential candidates think there may be a terrorist among the refugees then they need to find ways beyond the extensive refugee vetting already in place to identify the threat.  To simply say they can’t come or to add unnecessary vetting is to the Daesh just another type of win over our well entrenched foreign policy to help such desperate people.

Quote on the Issues

H.R. 8 North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015

“f enacted, H.R. 8 would also prevent the Department of Energy (DOE) from providing any assistance to any proposed building code that does not meet a payback period of ten years or less. H.R. 8 would also remove a protection for consumers who purchase appliances that are not energy efficient.  The bill would prevent the creation of the express or implied warranty based on a product’s participation in the Energy Star Program which would allow consumers to seek restitution when they purchase Energy Star products that do not deliver the associated energy savings. Lastly, the majority intends to strip language from the bill to create a new minority workforce energy training grant program at the DOE targeted to help minorities, women, and veterans find work and build careers in the industry. ” Democratic Whip

Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 22 – Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

“Conference Report authorizes $302B in obligations, paid for, for highway and transit programs for an additional five years or through FY2020, and also authorizes funding for Amtrak and other programs.  The long-term measure provides much needed certainty to meet our nation’s infrastructure need.  It enables state and local governments to undertake large-scale projects which were not possible under the short-term, stop gap measures previously used to fund our country’s transportation system. “ Democratic Whip

On vetting refugees

“…there are many avenues by which ISIS operatives can come from their training grounds across the globe, including Iraq and Syria, to carry out attacks against the West. Approximately, 30,000 individuals have traveled from other countries to join ISIS, with as many as 5,000 of them from Europe and the United States. Those from Europe do not need a visa to enter the United States, and our northern and southern borders may be a route fighters use to enter the United States. ISIS is also encouraging sympathizers already here to carry out attacks against soft targets. The FBI has acknowledged it is leading over 900 active investigations of ISIS operatives in this country. In short, there are many ways to kill Americans, and ISIS is working to take advantage of them all.” Rep. Mac Thornberry Chair, House Armed Services Committee.

Defeating the Daesh

Islamic State cannot afford the expenses associated with governing its territory, some argue that the resulting public backlash would undermine its ability to rule.

Targeting the Islamic State’s finances is one of five core lines of effort to degrade and defeat the terrorist organization. General John Allen, the recently retired U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, stated in early 2015 that the United States cannot defeat the Islamic State through military efforts alone, and highlighted the need to deprive the group of access to financial resources. Congressional Research Service (The Islamic State)