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ICYMI: Rubio: Situation In Iraq Puts American Lives At Risk
Rubio: “This matters because we can never again allow a radical terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, or anyone for that matter, to set up safe havens from which they can carry out attacks against America. 9/11 may have never happened if Al Qaeda didn’t have a safe harbor and a safe haven in Afghanistan. We can’t allow that to happen again. We just can’t. American lives are put at risk by this.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
FOX News’ “Hannity”
June 18, 2014
FOX News’ Sean Hannity: “I assume you saw the poll that came out, where now we have a majority of Americans, 54%, say the President is incapable of leading the country. What’s your reaction to that?”
Senator Marco Rubio: “Well, look — I saw a commentator today say that these polls what they reflect is that the Obama presidency is over. And I agree with that. I think it is in general. Obviously, he still has responsibilities that I hope he’ll live up to.
“But whether it’s foreign policy, or the issue on the border, or the VA, or the IRS losing its e-mails, or Benghazi before that, it seems like every day now, or every other day, there’s a new crisis. Almost like we’re overwhelmed by the number of crises and conflicts that are arising as a result of the incompetence, and in some instances the design of this administration.”
Hannity: “I’m looking at the situation in Iraq, Senator, and here’s what I see. What I just tried to lay out in the last segment is very simply this. They made the case for Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. Everybody on the left, almost everybody, they voted for the authorization and the use of force. Things got difficult. They turned it into politics.
“As a result, George Bush kind of went it alone on the surge and he took a beating for it, and now the country, city by city, has fallen into the hands of radical Islamists. Now they’re talking about 100 special forces, maybe pinprick strikes. Is that a good idea?”
Rubio: “Here’s the problem. First of all, this is not about nation-building in Iraq. I hear people say that today. Harry Reid went to the Senate floor and said let Iraqis take care of their own problem, it’s none of our business. That misses the point. This is about the national security of the United States, because 9/11 would have never been possible unless the Taliban gave Al Qaeda an operating space to plot that attack against us.
“What this group wants to do now, ISIL, is they want to create an Islamic caliphate —a radical Sunni Islamic caliphate in portions of Syria and Iraq. And from there, they will carry out their plan to attack the U.S. and ultimately to try to destroy Israel. We cannot allow that to happen because it is a direct national security threat.
“I want this president to lead. It’s a national security issue. This should not be a partisan issue. But like every other issue, he has no plan. He has not come before the American people and said, ‘Here’s why this matters, here’s what we want to do.’”
Hannity: “The surge worked, we had 4,000 Americans die, and in just a few week period of time, city after city after city in Iraq is falling. And the President’s talking about maybe 100 special forces.”
Rubio: “Well first of all, if there was a residual American force still there, a lot of this would not have happened. Second, I would have to say we have to do the best we can, in my opinion, to cut off the supply lines from Syria into Iraq. That’s how ISIL is growing.
“This, by the way, these are not Iraqis. Many of these are foreign fighters, including some from America and from Europe. One from Florida, who actually detonated a suicide vest two weeks ago. They are pouring in from the Syrian border and into Iraq, and that’s why they’re carrying out these advances. We have to cut off those supply lines.”
Hannity: “So you’re saying we’ve got to re-engage in Iraq. Does that mean, in your mind, boots on the ground?”
Rubio: “First of all, I don’t think the President should be ruling things out, even if he never intends to send a single American back. By the way, I don’t take that lightly, nor am I calling for that. But you don’t start by telling terrorists, ‘Here’s what we’re not going to do.’
“But second, I think we need to use American power, primarily from air power and targeted missile strikes, to wipe out the ISIL advance, particularly these supply routes that they now have in place. Again, this is not about saving Maliki. This is about preventing these guys from setting up a caliphate that they’re going to use to attack us here in the United States.”
Hannity: “And it’s also like a cancer. It will spread. It will spread to Jordan. It will spread to Lebanon. It will spread to Turkey. And then of course you’ve got the Syrian-Iraqi connection. And then you’ve got this other — the President and John Kerry talking about getting into bed with the Iranians is unbelievable.
“Does this whole thing not highlight the need for energy independence and the need to control our nation’s borders? To me, this — ”
Rubio: “Yeah, well first of all, it does. I mean, energy independence is important. Certainly not just for economic growth, but for geopolitical reasons. But even beyond that Sean, this matters because we can never again allow a radical terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, or anyone for that matter, to set up safe havens from which they can carry out attacks against America. 9/11 may have never happened if Al Qaeda didn’t have a safe harbor and a safe haven in Afghanistan. We can’t allow that to happen again. We just can’t. American lives are put at risk by this.”