On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed what he said he sensed was his constituents concerns about the escalating violence in Iraq. He said that many do not understand why it was America’s responsibility to address the situation in Iraq. In his speech on the Senate floor, he set out to address his constituents’ concerns, to explain why the problem in Iraq was and will be America’s problem, and why President Barack Obama must “lead” on this issue.
“Imagine for a moment if we could go back in time to the year 1997, or 1996, or 1998, 1999, and had known about al-Qaeda then what we knew by September of 2001,” Rubio began. “We would have realized that this was a dangerous group that had the capacity and the deep willingness to attack Americans in order to terrorize us so that we would leave the Middle East and turn it over to people like them.”
“If we had done something about it, it is fair to say that eventually there would have been some terrorist attack, but maybe there wouldn’t have been one on September 11, 2001,” he continued.
“While this is not the time to point fingers or throw blame around, I certainly think it’s the time to learn the lessons of that history and apply them to the challenges of our time,” Rubio asserted.
The Florida senator said that the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq is reminiscent of the rise of al-Qaeda. He added that their goal is to found an Islamic caliphate which will serve as a “safe haven” in order for them to plan and mount attacks against the United States and its allies.
Rubio went on to call on the president to address this crisis soon. “I know the president likes to go around saying ‘The war is over,’ but no one told ISIL that,” he said. “They don’t think the war is over.”
“So, while I understand that he doesn’t want us engaged in another conflict, and neither do most Americans, he knows – he must know – that we are going to have to do something about this,” Rubio insisted. “The issue before us is whether we do something about it now, or we do something about this later when the problem will be much harder and much costlier to address.”
“Mr. President, on this issue, you must lead,” the senator concluded. “You must put aside all these domestic political debates that are going on in your office about how this is going to poll, or whether this runs contrary to what you said on the campaign trail. This is too important. It’s too vital. It’s too serious, and it’s too dangerous.”