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Byrne Says Obama Lacks Cohesive Strategy to Defeat ISIS

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, March 31, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) responded to the release of an overdue report from President Barack H Obama’s Administration outlining a strategy to defeat ISIS: “Strategy for the Middle East and to Counter Violent Extremism.”

The report was released a week after Congressman Byrne questioned Secretary of Defense Ash Carter last week about why the Administration had failed to submit the report to Congress by the February 15th deadline as outlined in law.

Rep. Byrne said in a statement, “The Obama Administration’s ‘plan’ for defeating ISIS is over a month late and lacks a cohesive strategy. I continue to be deeply concerned the Administration failed to follow the law and submit the report on time. The late delivery is especially insulting when you consider how little information is contained in the seven page document. Either the Administration didn’t take this request from Congress seriously or they actually lack a real strategy for combating Islamic extremism and defeating ISIS. Sadly, I fear both of those are true.”

Last year, Congress included a provision in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to submit a plan to Congress outlining a strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The law said the report should be submitted to Congress “not later than February 15, 2016.” The report was submitted on March 24, 2016, two days after Secretary Carter testified before Congressman Byrne and the Armed Services Committee and then was only seven pages long.

On Tuesday, March 22 ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on Brussels Belgium that killed 35 persons and wounded over 220. Later that same day in Washington, Rep. Byrne demanded that US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter produce an overdue report to Congress outlining the US military strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Rep. Byrne said, “Mr. Secretary, obviously we are hearing today of tragedy. Tragedy for the Belgians. Tragedy for the world. ISIS has now taken responsibility for the murders this morning. We had a Marine that was killed last weekend in Iraq. We have a law that we passed called the National Defense Authorization Act. It required you to submit to the Congress, by February 15th, a plan for defeating these people. I know you told the Chairman that it was imminent. You have failed to do it by February 15th. You are in violation of the law. When an average American violates the law there are consequences. Would you care to explain to the Committee why there shouldn’t be consequences for your failure to follow the law that was signed by your President?”

Secretary Carter told Byrne, “We are prepared…we are going to submit that report. It has taken some time…” “We will have that report to you shortly Congressman.”

On Easter Sunday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R from Wisconsin) said, “On Tuesday, ISIS, the radical Islamic terrorist group, committed harrowing acts of terror, killing dozens of innocent people in Brussels at the very heart of Western Europe.”

Speaker Ryan said, “In Iraq and Syria, ISIS has been committing systematic, targeted attacks against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities. Last week, our government finally called these atrocities what they are: a genocide.”

Ryan continued, “As the United States and our allies are confronted with evil, let us heed the words of former Pope John Paul II, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Ryan concluded, “We will not give up. We will stand with our allies. We will defeat terror.”

Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.


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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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