Letter to the Hon. Barack Obama, President of the United States - Cut Off the ISIS Cash Flow Now
Like the rest of America, I watched with horror the live feeds on the news last Friday evening showing the blood and carnage from yet another Islamic terrorist attack on the West. And, like the rest of America, I listened to you state earlier that very same day that ISIS was contained. Tragically, a few short hours later, we faced the terrible truth that this isn't true.
As a 26-year US Air Force veteran, I fully understand the overwhelming capability that our military possesses. I've watched, with frustration, the bombing campaign that has been conducted against ISIS. While it has arguably stalled some of ISIS's territorial gains, it has neither effectively reduced the area ISIS controls, nor impeded their ability to conduct and inspire terrorist attacks beyond its safe haven. We are not winning, Mr. President, and Americans are not safer.
I understand and agree with you that this is not a traditional war. America, and the West, is at war against a toxic ideology that employs asymmetrical warfare, terror, and a sophisticated use of social media to recruit more members and encourage more attacks. ISIS, like all Islamic terrorist groups, is only as effective and dangerous as their finances enable it to be. America has not succeeded in cutting off ISIS's cash flow. In my view, this is the biggest failure in the way your Administration has conducted this war.
Recent media reports estimate that ISIS makes nearly $50 million a month from selling oil from the infrastructure it controls in Syria and Iraq. A U.S. Treasury official has confirmed that figure. Furthermore, estimates indicate that the terrorist group is producing more than 30,000 barrels of oil a day from that region that is then sold on the black market at discounted rates. A terrorist group making half a billion dollars a year can buy a lot of recruits, weapons, and influence. And ISIS has proven that it wants to fund more mass casualty attacks.
Mr. President, we must stop this cash flow.
I was encouraged by the beginning of the "Tidal Wave II" campaign that recently saw American A-10's and AC-130's target ISIS tanker trucks and some of the oil production infrastructure it controls in Syria. We must do more. Our allies must do more. Containing an enemy this dangerous is not sufficient. Their toxic ideology and their ability to inflict mass casualties is not confined by borders. We must kill them. In order to kill them, we must cut off their lifeblood - their money.
The world is desperate for America to lead the civilized world in a focused and overwhelming effort that eliminates ISIS from the face of the earth. A low heat military campaign content with containment is a recipe for more terrorist attacks. I encourage you to rise to the challenge of our time, and lead the civilized world in destroying this dangerous and deadly scourge.