Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Obama rejects France’s call to ramp up war against ISIS

(NYP) French President François Hollande on Monday called for the United States and Russia to join his country in an all-out war against ISIS — but President Obama expressed a much less aggressive stance, and said putting more US troops on the ground “would be a mistake.”

In a role reversal from the 2003 US war against Iraq, which France opposed, Hollande told French lawmakers he is committed to “destroying” ISIS, “a result that has been too long in coming.”

Speaking at a rare joint session of Parliament at the Palace of Versailles, Hollande said he wanted to create “a union of all who can fight this terrorist army in a single coalition.”

“I will call both Obama and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to unite our efforts and seek a solution,” Hollande said.

Obama, however, flatly rejected Hollande’s plea to ramp up the US military effort, instead defending his own strategy of targeted airstrikes and aiding anti-ISIS fighters.

Responding to a reporter who asked, “Why can’t we take out these bastards?,” Obama said that deploying 50,000 American soldiers could oust ISIS from its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, but wouldn’t stop it from mounting attacks in other countries.

Obama also said the idea of imposing a “no-fly zone” was well-intentioned but unworkable, claiming, “It’s best that we don’t shoot first and aim later.”

In a jab at Republicans who blasted his approach in the wake of Friday’s deadly ISIS attacks in Paris, Obama said he wouldn’t do anything “just to make America look tough, or make me look tough.”