A Senate Republican said Sunday that she is concerned President Obama will step back from his strong stance of taking out the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the midterm elections.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the president’s foreign policy is trapped by his campaign rhetoric, and his plan to destroy ISIS could fade away.
“I’m very concerned about that and his resolve in that regard and I think that’s something that we have to stay focused on,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“We need to ensure that this isn’t just surrounding what we’re doing now,” she said.
“He has made clear this is going to take a sustained effort and he has to be prepared to have the resolve to engage in that sustained effort to destroy ISIS.”
She said “we’re going to be in a situation where we have a safe haven again where attacks can be launched against us” without a steadfast campaign against Islamic extremists.
“I’m fearful that as we look at the current military strategy that it is surrounding the November elections and that he won’t have the resolve to follow through with what needs to be done in a sustained effort to destroy ISIS.”
Ayotte was responding to what former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in his new book that Obama cared more about following through of his campaign promise of getting out of Iraq rather than weighing the repercussions of a U.S. withdrawal.
Panetta said it was clear to him and others that withdrawing U.S. forces “would endanger the fragile stability then barely holding Iraq together,” he wrote in Time magazine.
“My fear, as I voiced to the president and others, was that if the country split apart or slid back into the violence that we’d seen in the years immediately following the U.S. invasion, it could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.,” he wrote.
“Iraq’s stability was not only in Iraq’s interest but also in ours. I privately and publicly advocated for a residual force that could provide training and security for Iraq’s military.”