President Obama outlined a plan Wednesday to defeat the terror group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS. He is calling for airstrikes, as well as for the U.S. to support the Iraqi military and Syrian fighters attacking ISIS on the ground.
On Capitol Hill, the reaction was split, and not just along party lines. Both of Alaska’s senators were critical of the president’s plan.
Sen. Mark Begich opposes Obama’s proposal to arm Syrian fighters. He says there’s no assurance those weapons won’t some day be pointed at Americans. Begich also says he wants to see other countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, step up to fight ISIS.
“We can help bring it together, but at the end of the day we can’t be the lead on this either,” Begich said. “The Arab countries have to be the lead.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski was traveling today, but in a written statement last night, she said the nation is still waiting for the president to produce a comprehensive plan. She says Obama must define his terms and explain to Americans what constitutes victory and what benchmarks will measure the progress.
Alaska Congressman Don Young endorsed targeted airstrikes, saying they’ve been proven to help those on the ground defend themselves and also curb the advancement of America’s enemies.
Alaska’s congressional candidates also weighed in on the president’s speech. Begich challenger Dan Sullivan says it was a welcome change from Obama’s previous remarks, which Sullivan describes as underplaying the threat while offering no clear plan. Democrat Forest Dunbar, running against Young, says he also supports air strikes, which he says could help Kurdish and other allied ground forces.