Mr. Speaker, on September 10, 2014, President Obama announced that the United States would ``degrade and ultimately destroy'' ISIS . ISIS has obviously not gotten the memo. This terrorist group keeps moving across the Middle East, killing those who stand in its way by raping, pillaging, and murdering those who disagree with them. ISIS controls half of Syria and large parts of Iraq. Civilized society is losing to these barbarians.
Despite the U.S. spending billions on a counterterrorism strategy, the terrorist group's numbers have not decreased. In fact, ISIS has grown in size, with affiliates all over the world, including Indonesia, Yemen, Egypt, and even Libya.
A $3 billion U.S. airstrike campaign has been plagued with little measurable successful results. From the very beginning, military officials warned that airstrikes alone that relied on virtually no human intelligence or on-the-ground intelligence would not be successful. Without good intelligence, the number of airstrikes the U.S. has carried out have been few, and the results are uncertain.
Also, ISIS fighters killed by our airstrikes are just replaced by other jihadists. Our intelligence estimates that ISIS' numbers are the same as they were when our airstrikes began.
In addition, the administration's $500 million train and equip program has proved to be a failure by anyone's measure. In July, officials reported they had identified 7,000 planned participants but only trained 60 of these mercenaries. Later that month, 54 fighters crossed into Syria to fight ISIS forces that numbered in the tens of thousands. Of those 54 mercenaries, virtually all were killed, captured, or scattered when attacked. We arenow down to four or five U.S.-trained mercenaries, according to General Lloyd Austin of CENTCOM.
Despite this failed policy, just last week, we sent a second group of 70 U.S.-trained mercenaries into Syria. Just 1 day later, reports suggested that one of the officers defected and surrendered his arms to al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, and several truckloads of weapons were allegedly traded to the terrorist group al-Nusra for safe passage.
It is time to abandon this failed train and equip program.
The reality is just as bleak on the online battlefield. ISIS has 30,000 to 40,000 social media accounts. It uses the Internet to spread propaganda, raise money, and find recruits as far away as Washington State.
In 2011, the administration promised a strategy to combat terrorist use of social media. Four years later, we still haven't seen that plan. No plan, no degrading ISIS , no defeating ISIS .
The intel given to the administration has also been doctored to cover up how badly the war against ISIS is going. Meanwhile, thousands of people are fleeing the Middle East--flooding Europe and demanding entry into other Western nations because of the ISIS carnage and the chaos in Syria as well.
In the face of our failure to destroy ISIS , we should be focusing on what we can do better and how we can improve our strategy without using U.S. ground troops.
ISIS' advances in Syria translate into more direct threats to our national security and interests, both abroad and at home. ISIS wants to destroy the United States and everything we stand for. ISIS fears no one--certainly not the United States--so it continues to murder in the name of its radical jihad. It has already killed innocent Americans.
We need a strategy that protects American people from this radical Islamic threat. So what is the plan? Let the Russians defeat ISIS and prop up the butcher of Syria, Assad, and let him remain in power? Who knows. The current U.S. plan seems to be like the war in Vietnam: don't win, don't lose.
The American people need to know if the U.S. is in or out in the fight against ISIS . If it is in the national security interest of the United States to degrade and defeat them, we need to define the enemy and defeat them.
And that is just the way it is.