Dem Rep Moulton: We Don’t Have ‘Serious Enough Political Strategy’ Against Islamic State

Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) argued that there is not a “serious enough political strategy” against ISIS, and that he’s “not hearing nearly enough” from the administration in terms of strategy on Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room.”

When asked if he believes the Obama administration lacks a political strategy against ISIS, he answered, “I don’t think we have a serious enough political strategy. I think that we’ve really been leading with bombs, and leading with troops. if you think about what happened, when ISIS had this dramatic expansion, from Syria into western, and then into northern Iraq, they didn’t just sweep in and defeat the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi Army put its weapons down and went home, because they had lost faith in their own government, and that tells us that fundamentally, it’s a political problem in Iraq today that’s allowed the rise of ISIS. But what was the president’s response? He sent 500 military trainers to Baghdad. Well, you don’t fix Iraqi politics by training Iraqi troops.”

Moulton later added, “I’d ask what is the mission of our 50 special forces that are going in there? Are they there just to defeat ISIS, or are they going to force a transition from Assad’s leadership, or are they going to overthrow Assad militarily, or politically? These are the kind of fundamental questions that we have to answer to give our troops the guidance that they need, and to make sure that we have a real plan for defeating ISIS, not just in the short term, but in the long term, as well.”

Moulton was then asked, “you also need, not only a strategy, not only a plan, you need an exit strategy down the road as well, and what I’m hearing from you congressman, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re not hearing any of that.”

He responded, “No, I’m not. I’m not hearing nearly enough. the fundamental thing that has led to the rise of ISIS, that led to the rise of al Qaeda before it, are these political vacuums in the Middle East. It’s a political vacuum that allowed ISIS to sweep into Iraq from Syria. It’s a political vacuum in Afghanistan, prior to 9/11, that allowed the establishment of training camps that were used against us in the 9/11 attacks. So, we’ve got to have that piece of the plan in place. It doesn’t mean there’s not a role for the military. A lot of these ISIS thugs need to be killed. And so, dropping bombs, and at some point perhaps sending in advisory troops is needed, but we’ve got to have a serious long-term strategy, a serious political plan if we’re ever going to see this through. And by the way, we also have to talk about things like social media. You know, ISIS is recruiting people around the globe, including right here in America, using the internet, using social media, and I don’t think we’re meeting that threat, either.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett