Strange Bedfellows: Marco Rubio For Obama on Middle East, Alan Grayson Against
Around the State
Two prominent members of the Florida delegation continue to take leading roles, debating how America should respond to the gains the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made in the Middle East in recent days.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., penned an op-ed at CNN on Friday in which he called ISIS a threat “to Iraq’s stability" and “U.S. security” that should be dealt with.
“ISIS is a terrorist group with their own army and bank account that has a clear and growing ability to conduct terrorist attacks against the Iraqi government, Americans and U.S. interests, and even the U.S. homeland,” Rubio wrote. “ISIS, although loosely affiliated with al-Qaida, is in many respects even more extreme in its methods and its brutality than the terrorists who plotted and carried out 9/11.”
Rubio called for increased American action in the Middle East against ISIS.
“We need to move now to degrade ISIS’s capabilities,” Rubio urged. “The president’s decision to send 300 advisers to Iraq is a good first step, but their ability to deter ISIS will be limited unless we eventually engage in airstrikes to target their leaders as well as the supply lines that they use to transfer weapons and fighters between Syria and Iraq. We know where these supply lines are, we should not hesitate to halt the ISIS resupply to their strongholds in Anbar, Ninawa and Salah ad-Din.
“We also need to understand that our lack of an effective Syria strategy has allowed ISIS to take hold and flourish in the region,” Rubio continued, calling for “overtly arming the moderate Syrian rebels that are fighting ISIS in that country even as we simultaneously tackle the challenge they currently pose to Iraq.”
But even as Rubio praised President Barack Obama for calling to aid the Syrian rebels this week, a prominent Florida Democrat is increasingly breaking with the White House over policies in the Middle East. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., is continuing to gather petitions against increased American military action in the region.
Noting how Obama was sending 300 advisers to defend the American embassy in Baghdad, Grayson drew a historical comparison this week,
“South Vietnam 1960: 324 U.S. ‘advisers’," Grayson noted on Sunday. “Iraq 2014: 300+ U.S. ‘advisers.’ See where this is going?”
Grayson threw some jabs at former VP Dick Cheney for the Bush administration’s actions against Iraq, calling for the Republican to “slither back into your hole” while continuing to rally supporters against new military actions.
“U.S. military intervention in Iraq: it sure didn’t work out well last time,” Grayson insisted. “Let’s not make that mistake again.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.