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Congressman Ralph Abraham

Representing the 5th District of Louisiana

COLUMN: Leadership needed to end Syrian crisis

November 16, 2015
Press Release
By Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D.

For a couple years now we’ve watched as the terrorists of the Islamic State perform acts of violence against innocent people, from beheading Christians to setting prisoners of war on fire to selling women into the sex slave trade.

On Nov. 13, ISIS spread its barbaric attacks to Europe in an attempt to strike fear into those nations like the United States and France who believe in what they hate the most: freedom.

The Western world cannot sit idly by while these Islamic extremists strike at our very way of life. The victims in Paris were civilians. They were simply living their lives much in the same way we do – cheering at sporting events, singing along at concerts and eating at restaurants.

The sad truth is that if ISIS can strike Paris, they can hit us at home. That’s a tragedy we don’t have to face. It is preventable, but it’s going to take a renewed focus from our President and bold leadership.

Unfortunately, nothing the President has done in the wake of the attacks would suggest he’s willing to do what it takes to keep us safe. Just hours before the Paris attacks, he told us the lie that ISIS had been “contained.” As France responds with air strikes, President Obama told reporters Monday that he had no intention of changing his plan in handling Syria and ISIS.

We should be standing with our Western allies in defense of our common belief that democracy is worth defending. We should establish no-fly zones in Syria and enforce them. We should leverage our air superiority and bomb ISIS into submission so that we can give our Middle Eastern allies the cover they’ve requested to engage in ground operations.

A coalition of nations is ready to eradicate ISIS, but the President refuses to allow the United States to lead them in this effort.

Some may worry that an escalation in the region could result in ground troops or a clash with Russia, which has run roughshod over our interests in Syria and Ukraine because of this administration’s lack of moral courage to stand by our word.

ISIS has been allowed to blossom because they believe the United States is weak. Each red line the President has drawn has been crossed, and each time it’s crossed, he responds with nothing. I say if any nation or enemy violates our allies’ air restrictions, we swat them down like flies to remind the world of the power that we are.

Not only has the President taken no meaningful steps toward destroying ISIS, he’s done nothing to address the concerns thousands of people have in the country – me being among them – about the “refugees” he’s allowing into our country.

We know one of the terrorists who attacked France snuck in as a refugee. Who’s to say that can’t happen here? What steps are we taking to prevent that from happening? Where are they going to be housed, and who is keeping track of them once they’re here?

I asked the President these very basic questions in a letter back in September. He has yet to respond. For that reason, I’m against allowing a single refugee into this country. If the administration can’t prove that they pose no danger to Americans, they shouldn’t be here.

That’s why I cosponsored the “Resettlement Accountability National Security Act,” a bill that halts any refugees from entering the country until Congress passes a joint resolution that would allow them to be here. This would give us more oversight of the process and maybe then we’d get some answers that the President has withheld.

ISIS is a very real threat, not a “JV team” as President Obama has suggested. It’s time for him to get serious about this problem and begin acting like a Commander in Chief. If he can’t do that, then he needs to resign.