McKeon Outlines His Own Strategy to Defeat ISIS

One day after President Obama laid out his four-point strategy to defeat ISIS, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon laid out his own strategy to defeat the extremist organization. First, the US must “acknowledge” ISIS as an “immediate threat to US national security, and treat it as such,” said McKeon (R-Calif.) during an event at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Second, McKeon urged swift defeat of ISIS to prohibit the group from growing stronger. Key to that effort, he said, is winning over “Sunni moderates, who might be convinced to work with us again” and getting them to reject ISIS. Third, there must be a simultaneous effort in Iraq and Syria. “If we want ISIL defeated, we need them encircled,” McKeon added. Neighboring Middle East nations “all want to knock ISIL on its back,” but they need—and we owe them—our help, McKeon said. “There’s no way around it; American boots will be standing on sand. Americans will be shot at, and they will be shooting back. There’s simply no other way to do this,” McKeon said. However, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) emphasized there would not be US ground combat forces used in the fight against ISIS. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations also on Thursday, Levin said boots on the ground would be counter-productive because it would aggravate Muslims opposed to western “occupation.” (Fact sheet on McKeon’s five-point strategy) (McKeon transcript)