Congressman Poe chairs subcommittee hearing on counterterrorism in Syria.

OPENING STATEMENT--

On September 10, 2014, President Obama announced that the United States would “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. That was a year ago. Obviously ISIS didn’t get the memo.

This terrorist group keeps on moving across the Middle East killing those who stand in its way by raping, pillaging and murdering those who disagree with ISIS.

ISIS controls half of Syria and large parts of Iraq.

Civilized society is losing to these barbarians.

Despite spending billions in a counterterrorism strategy, the terrorist group’s numbers have not decreased.

In fact, ISIS has grown in size with affiliates now all over the world, including Indonesia, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya.

A $3.7 billion air strike campaign has been plagued with little measurable successful results.

From the very beginning, military officials warned that the air strikes relied on virtually no human intelligence or on-the-ground surveillance.

They were right.

Without good intelligence, the number of air strikes the US has carried out have been few and the results are uncertain.

Also ISIS fighters killed by our airstrikes are just replaced immediately with other jihadists.

Our intelligence estimates that ISIS’s numbers are the same as they were when our air strikes started.

In addition, the Administration’s $500 million train and equip program has proved to be a failure by anyone’s measure.

 In July, officials reported that they had identified 7,000 planned participants, but only trained 60 due to intense vetting procedures and other excuses.

 Later that month, 54 fighters crossed into Syria to fight ISIS forces that number in the tens of thousands.

 Of those 54 mercenaries, virtually all were killed, captured, or scattered when attacked.

We’re now down to 4 or 5 U.S. trained mercenaries, according to General Lloyd Austin of CENTCOM.

Despite this failed policy, just last week, we sent a second group of about 70 U.S.-trained fighters into Syria.

Just one day later, reports suggested that one of the officers defected and surrendered his arms to al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

Several truckloads of weapons were allegedly traded to another terrorist group al-Nusra for safe passage.

It’s time to abandon this failed train and equip program. 

The reality is just as bleak in the online battlefield.

ISIS has 30 to 40,000 social media accounts.

It uses the Internet to spread its propaganda, raise money find recruits as far away as Washington State.

In 2011, the Administration promised a strategy to combat terrorist use of social media back.

4 years later, the Administration still has not shown us that strategy.

No plan, no degrading of ISIS, no defeating of ISIS.

The intel given to the Administration has also reportedly been doctored to cover up how bad the war against ISIS is going.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are fleeing the Middle East—flooding Europe and demanding entry into other Western countries because of the ISIS carnage and chaos in Syria.

ISIS continues to recruit wanna be jihadists online for free via U.S.-owned social media companies.

The Administration continually saying that “everything is okay” is an embarrassing, wrong assessment of the violence and threat of ISIS.

Today, we are here to get frank assessments of the Administration’s counterterrorism strategy in Syria.

In the face of our failure to destroy ISIS, we should be focusing on what we can do better, how we can improve our strategy in the future.

ISIS’s advances in Syria translate into more direct threats to our national security and our interests, both abroad and at home.

ISIS wants to destroy the United States and everything the U.S. stands for.

ISIS fears no one, certainly not the U.S., so it continues to murder in the name of its radical jihadist beliefs.  It has already killed numerous Americans.

We need a new strategy that protects the American people from this radical Islamist threat.

Now we hear on the horizon that the Russians may intervene and help defeat ISIS.  Who knows?

The U.S. needs to define the enemy and defeat it.

And that’s just the way it is.