On this 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, here is what New Hampshire’s political leaders and top candidates are saying in reaction to President Barack Obama’s Wednesday night speech on the Islamic state.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen:
“I have consistently called for a serious, comprehensive strategy to destroy ISIS that includes strong U.S. leadership of an international coalition, increased assistance to partner forces battling ISIS on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border, and intensified efforts to deny the group access to the funding and the foreign fighters that sustain its operations and pose the greatest threat to the United States.
“Outlining a strategy was a start. In hearings next week, I intend to question Administration officials on their plans to implement this strategy to confront the full scale of the terrorism challenge we face, particularly in Syria. And as I have made clear, I will continue to press the President to use all of the tools at his disposal, short of ground combat troops, to defeat ISIS.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte:
“I appreciate that the president has finally said clearly that we must destroy ISIS and that he outlined some important steps toward that goal – including expanded airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, which I have previously called for.
“We have heard tough talk before from the president, and I hope this time he takes decisive actions to match his words.
“Based on the briefing I received today in the Homeland Security Committee about the number of Americans and Western passport holders who have joined ISIS, the estimates that ISIS is raising as much as $1 million a day, and the safe havens they retain in Iraq and Syria, I believe that ISIS is a current threat to our homeland and I disagree with the president’s assertion tonight that America is safer.
“Any effective strategy must include tougher measures to ensure that Americans and Western passport holders who have joined ISIS cannot enter the United States of America.”
Rep. Ann Kuster:
“The brutal murders of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, along with similar acts of despicable violence, have proven ISIL to be a group of purely evil fanatics intent on spreading terror around the globe. While I continue to oppose putting American boots on the ground in the region, I believe that we must hold ISIL accountable and work with our international allies to bring this terrorist group’s barbaric actions to an end. James Foley and Steven Sotloff gave their lives in an effort to expose ISIL’s horrifying human rights violations to the rest of the world, and we owe it to their memories to pursue their murderers and bring them to justice.”
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter:
“I listened closely to President Obama’s speech last night. I have attended several briefings and discussions on ISIL in the past few days, including a bipartisan classified briefing today on ISIL and President Obama’s strategy to deal with this terrorist group and the threat it is posing. Briefers included General Martin Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Advisor, and others. I have listened to various opinions from experts, and I still believe what I have been saying from the beginning.
“I support air strikes, but I do not support American boots on the ground. President Obama is right about building a coalition. I believe countries in that region need to provide money and troops to fight ISIS, and there needs to be political reconciliation between Iraqis if they are to defeat this dangerous group. We also need to pursue those who are traveling to these regions from other countries to fight for ISIS. I believe we can win this battle against ISIS by building a strong coalition and working together, and I know we must destroy this threat. I am a member of the House Armed Services Committee and I will be monitoring this rapidly changing situation very closely.”
Former U.S. Rep. and 1st District U.S. House candidate Frank Guinta:
“After months of watching the situation escalate and deteriorate, I applaud the President for recognizing the need to address this growing threat to the region and the world. Our own representative, Carol Shea-Porter, sits on the Armed Services Committee and has refused to demand any consultation with Congress or offer a credible solution. Having run for Congress initially as an anti-war protestor, it is troubling that after several terms in Washington, she now refuses to demand the same accountability she asked for years ago. Granite Staters are smart enough to understand this hypocrisy, and they deserve better.”
State Rep. and 2nd District U.S. House candidate Marilinda Garcia:
“The President’s flippant characterization of ISIS as a “junior varsity” team could not have been less prescient. As evidenced by the brutal murder of American journalists, and an end goal of a global Islamic Caliphate, ISIS has violently asserted itself as the greatest terror threat facing America. A clear and comprehensive strategy is needed to completely destroy this evil group.
“Although I welcome the President’s acknowledgement that ISIS must be eliminated, I sincerely hope that the President’s words will prove to be more than just lip-service and empty rhetoric.”
Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown did not issue a statement today despite requests by the New Hampshire Journal.