Robert Hurt: The threat of ISIL requires clear, bold action

Robert_HurtIt has been more than six months since President Obama addressed the nation about the growing threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and commenced air strikes against its forces.  This radical Islamic organization has deliberately perpetrated unspeakable acts of terror against innocent people over these months.  This includes the heinous murder of American, Japanese, and Jordanian hostages, as well as the occupation of vast territory in Iraq and Syria, forcing tens of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians into refugee status.

Last week, we learned that an ISIL offshoot in Libya brutally murdered 21 Egyptian Christians and has occupied territory along the Egyptian border, demonstrating that the reach of this radical organization is spreading outside Iraq and Syria.  Clearly, the dangers ISIL presents are extending beyond isolated, despicable acts of violence and becoming a more significant threat to the Middle East at large.

Our allies need bold and clearly-defined leadership from the United States, as the strength and safety of our friends in the region are vital to our own national security.  We cannot tolerate the proliferation of violent Islamic extremism in the Middle East and open the door to institutional terror spreading beyond the region.

While long overdue, I was pleased that the President finally began the process of seeking the appropriate congressional authorization to combat ISIL.  The Constitution requires the President to obtain authorization from Congress to wage war, and the American people and their representatives in Congress must be afforded the opportunity to engage in an honest and candid debate on the scope of any military action before sending our brave men and women in uniform into harm’s way.

This week, the House Armed Services Committee will hold the first in a series of hearings on the President’s Authorization for Use of Military Force request.  It is my hope that through these hearings, we will explore exactly what will be required of the American people and of our brave men and women in uniform if we expand the scope of our engagement.  Congressional oversight provides a critical opportunity for the President and his Administration to provide greater detail about strategy for engagement, troop levels, and end goals of the conflict.

I am hopeful that these and future hearings will give the American people a clearer picture of the strategy and tactics we will deploy along with our coalition allies to stop the evil force that is ISIL.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents Virginia’s Fifth District in Congress.

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