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Terrorism and ISIS Strategy

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 9, 2015
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALAZZO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the imminent danger facing our Nation in the wake of the terrorist attacks in California.

Earlier this week, the President addressed the country to talk about the impact of the Islamic State and the attacks in California. From what I saw, he gave his usual very brief and very naive analysis of the threat of global terrorism. Yet, once again, he still failed to provide any actual plan or strategy.

He made very clear that he believes his plan is working. He talked a lot about how we would continue to do the same things we have been doing for months. Meanwhile, ISIS continues to grow, expanding their influence, and hitting targets far from their home in Syria.

It is unfortunate that very few people I have spoken to feel surprised by the lack of focus and direction coming from the White House. This is the same President that has been dismantling our military piece by piece. He has continued to push for unsustainably low funding for our military in favor of social programs, while making dangerous deals that jeopardize the safety and security of our Nation and our allies overseas.

All the while, he claims to be putting the safety and security of the American people first. It seems abundantly clear to me and the rest of the country that the most important thing to this President is his personal legacy of instituting social change and other liberal wish-list items.

During the same address, where he claimed all of his plans were working and we should continue along the same course, he also argued that part of the solution to Muslim extremism was more gun control here in America. Obviously, the President's memory is pretty weak. The Boston bombers did unthinkable harm with household items. The San Bernardino terrorists--yes, terrorists--had a dozen pipe bombs in their residence. These people are dedicated to destroying the West and instituting a caliphate. Do you really think that telling them that they can't buy an AR-15 is going to stop them from hurting people?

Let me be clear: this is not a gun issue. This is a terrorism issue. To combine the two is a blatant attempt to capitalize on a tragedy that should be looked at with disdain. But you never know. It wasn't too long ago that Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Obama, would always remind his party to ``never let a good crisis go to waste.''

This isn't the first time though. Last week, while everyone was talking about the terrorist attack in California--and despite pleas from the Marine Corps to make exemptions to certain military occupational specialties--the Secretary of Defense made the historic, but unbelievably dangerous, decision to open all combat jobs to women.

But if there is one thing the President loves to do, it is to ignore his senior military leadership. Many people believe that the emergence of ISIS is directly related to his premature withdrawal from Iraq, and I agree.

These are just a few examples of the AWOL nature of this President. But in this case, AWOL stands for ``absent without leadership.''

What happened in Paris and here in California was a brutal reminder of just how dedicated our enemy is in fighting this war against us. Yet, the President only acknowledges it as a setback, similar to how he refused to acknowledge ISIS at all over a year ago. And when he finally did, he brushed it off, calling them the JV team. The night before the Paris attacks, he stated that ISIS had been contained.

This President is either delusional or unbelievably misinformed. Either way, it does not inspire confidence for the next year of his Presidency. Now here we are. He was wrong then, and he is wrong now.

Mr. Speaker, while the President held his annual holiday ball on Monday night, I held a tele-town hall with my constituents. When asked if they felt more safe or less safe under this administration's handling of our national security and foreign affairs, 92 percent of my constituents said they felt less safe, and 73 percent said that we should do anything in our power to destroy ISIS. I have got to say, this is a clear message that I think would resonate nationwide.

Time and again, the President, our Commander in Chief, has proven to be oblivious to the real threat that ISIS poses to our national security. He said that what we are doing is working, when it is clearly not.

Folks, we are under attack, and we cannot be afraid to call it what it is: This enemy is radical Muslim extremism.

The American people don't feel safe under this President's failed policies. The time has come to change course in this new war against ISIS, secure our borders, halt the Syrian refugee program, and start listening to the American people.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded not to engage in personalities toward the President.