On Sunday, a number of Republicans made appearances on the various morning news shows to talk about President Obama’s decision to order airstrikes in Iraq to hinder the movement of ISIS towards American diplomats and troops in Erbil. The President also announced that the United States would be dropping food, water and supplies to help hundred of thousands of stranded civilians that are threatened by ISIS forces. President Obama has insisted that no combat troops will be sent into Iraq. However, he has stated that this current mission will not be over in a short amount of time. POTUS has also called on the Iraq government to make changes in leadership, as the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has lost the confidence of the country’s people and military.
In response to the President’s actions, Republican lawmakers jumped at the chance to criticize him for not going far enough. In doing so, they decided to play on the American public’s emotions by bringing up 9-11, stating that if we do not act in a more forceful manner in Iraq, then we can expect to see another large-scale terrorist attack in the United States. This disgusting act of fear-mongering was led by the usual suspects, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, along with Rep. Peter King (R-NY).
McCain was on CNN’s State of the Union. During his discussion with host Candy Crowley, McCain made the claim that ISIS could be coming over to America if the United States military doesn’t confront them directly in Iraq and Syria.
CROWLEY: And, Senator, the result of this going very, very badly, when you say – and this is a direct threat, I know others are saying that, too – but when Senator John McCain says ISIS is a direct threat to American security, what people hear is to the American homeland. What is it that you mean? Where is that direct threat?
MCCAIN: Well, these people that are coming to fight on the side of ISIS are returning to their countries in Europe. And there’s 100 of them that we are tracking in the United States.
As I mentioned to you already, one was in Syria, came back to the United States, and then went back to Syria, and blew himself up. Mr. Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, when he left our Camp Bucca, the camp in Iraq, said, see you in New York.
If you read what they’re saying, we are the enemy. They want to destroy us. They are getting stronger all the time. They have attracted 1,00 young men from around the world who are now fighting on their side. This ISIS is metastasizing throughout the region. And their goal, as they have stated openly time after time, is the destruction of the United States of America.
And it’s not John McCain that’s saying it. It’s the director of national intelligence, director of the FBI, the secretary of homeland security, and lately the attorney general.
You’ve got to love McCain speaking about himself in the third-person. Anyway, it was clear that McCain was stating that unless the United States military intervenes in Iraq and the Middle East, we will see acts of terrorism occur in our country.
McCain’s partner-in-crime, Lindsey Graham, appeared on Fox News Sunday. Graham was obviously speaking from the same script as McCain. As he is wont to do, Graham tossed around hyperbole and exaggeratedly hyped up the danger America faces unless it gets itself involved in another war in Iraq. In his conversation with host Chris Wallace, Graham claimed American cities risk being “in flames” due to ISIS’s terroristic abilities.
WALLACE: Now, let’s get reaction to the new U.S. role in Iraq from two key senators. First, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Armed Services Committee.
Senator, after President Obama declared his new policy of airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops, you sent out this tweet. Let’s put it on the screen, “The actions announced tonight will not turn the tide of battle.”
But President Obama says we can’t do that. We can’t roll back ISIS, take the offensive measures that General Keane was talking about until we get an inclusive government in Baghdad so all the factions in that country are joining in the fight.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C., ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, that’s not accurate. When I look at the map that the General Keane described, I think of the United States. I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorist ability to operate in Syria and Iraq. The director of national security, the FBI director, the director of homeland security has said that the ISIS presence in Syria where hundreds of Americans and thousands of European fighters have gone, represents a direct threat to the United States, and now, their enclave in Iraq.
So, Mr. President, you have never once spoken directly to the American people about the threat we face from being attacked from Syria, now Iraq. What is your strategy to stop these people from attacking the homeland? They have expressed a desire to do so.
So, there’s no political reconciliation in Baghdad going to protect the American homeland. That has to be a commander-in-chief with a strategy and a vision. This commander-in=chief has no strategy. He has no vision.
This is a situation where he knows better than everybody else. He was told he should get engaged in Syria three years ago by his national security team. He said no, his military commander said you should leave troops in Iraq as an insurance policy, and he got the no.
Finally, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Peter King specifically mentioned 9-11 and claimed that the United States is inviting ISIS to invade the homeland.
DAVID GREGORY: Which is, those who would argue, conservatives, Republicans, others, that the president has underestimated this, that we’re only using limited action to fight this threat, what more can be done, as the president said, than just keep a lid on this problem and all of these threats by the United States?
REP. PETER KING: Well first of all, David, this is not just Iraq. ISIS is a direct threat to the United States of America. What Dick Durbin just said and what President Obama has said, is really a shameful abdication of American leadership. This isn’t Iraq we’re talking about. And we can’t wait until Maliki and the Iraqi parliament to fight ISIS.
Every day that goes by, ISIS builds up this caliphate, and it becomes a direct threat to the United States. They are more powerful now than al-Qaeda was on 9-11. So Dick Durbin says we’re not going to do this, we’re not going to do that. I want to hear what he says when they attack us in the United States.
I lost senators and constituents on 9-11. I didn’t want to do that again. We’ve seen this coming. And so for the president to say, “We’re doing air strikes, we’re not doing anything else, we’re not going to use American combat troops, we’re not going to do this, we’re not going to do that,” what kind of leadership is that?
In all three instances, these GOP lawmakers invoked 9-11 and used the fear of a large-scale terror attack on US soil to make the case for war. If this sounds familiar, this was exactly what occurred when the Bush Administration, conservative media and Republicans in Washington kept saying “we fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here” in order to justify the Iraq War. Now, we are getting the same line fed to us to scare the American public into supporting another unnecessary military action. They know that Americans aren’t going to support getting into another quagmire that costs billions of dollars and thousands of American lives while creating resentment of America across the globe. Therefore, it is all about stoking fear of terrorist threats at home.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).