In a rare move, the U.S. Congress supported an initiative by President Obama Wednesday, voting to authorize limited military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or more commonly known as ISIL.
Despite the U.S. House approving the measure 221-192, the area’s two local Republican congressmen are still saying they’re not happy with how Obama is handling the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
“While I voted in favor of the amendment authorizing President Obama to begin facilitating Syrian rebel combat training, this was not my idea strategy for how to defeat ISIL,” said U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, in a statement. “This amendment is a step in the right direction, but the time has come to make the next move. Every day that President Obama does not take bold and aggressive action toward demolishing ISIL, is another day that our national security and American lives are in jeopardy.”
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, said he voted in favor of training “appropriately vetted” opposition forces to fight ISIL.
“This amendment will allow carefully vetted and scrutinized opposition forces to be trained to fight ISIL under the direction of American Special Forces,” Bilirakis said, in a statement. “That, in combination with the full weight of the United States Air Force executing air strikes, is an appropriate step at this juncture, given the immediate threat ISIL represents to both America and her allies.”
In a visit to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Wednesday, President Obama laid out his strategy in fighting the terrorist militant group that has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.
“Now going forward, as I announced last week, we’re going to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy,” the president said, according to a transcript of the speech. “And whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn the same thing that the leaders of al Qaeda already know: We mean what we say. Our reach is long. If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. We will find you eventually.”