Monday, October 06, 2014

ISIS: Islamic State

Mr. David Nollmeyer
General Delivery
Westwood, CA 96137-9999

baghdadi. 2014 

al Baghdadi

la malfa.2014 

Doug la Malfa

Dear Mr. Nollmeyer:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I appreciate the time you took to share your views and your patience while waiting for a response.

As you know, ISIS is an extremely violent and radical group that has seized territory in parts of Syria and Iraq. In doing so, ISIS has brutally killed innocent civilians who do not share their extreme and perverse vision of what they call Islamic governance. Recent estimates indicate that ISIS has grown to somewhere between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters including European and American citizens who have travelled to the region to join this barbaric group.

The civil war in Syria and sectarian tensions in Iraq have helped create conditions for ISIS to gain a foothold in the region and to attract recruits to their violent organization. It comes as no surprise that ISIS has threatened to direct attacks on the United States, our allies, and our interests in the region. The longer we wait in facing this threat, the more likely it will be that ISIS will develop the ability to launch attacks in the United States and against our personnel or diplomatic facilities in that region.
On August 7, 2014 President Barack Obama authorized limited airstrikes in Iraq to prevent ISIS from seizing further territories and threatening innocent people. In addition, the President also addressed the nation to provide further details on his strategy for combatting ISIS. This strategy will include expanded airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, providing support for the new Iraqi government, deploying American military advisors in a non-combat role to work and train local forces to enhance their ability to go on offense against ISIS, and to ramp up our efforts to train and arm moderate elements in Syria that are fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but do not share the radical vision of ISIS. The United States will also be building a coalition of nations to support these efforts.

As your Representative, I believe we must take the fight to ISIS before it becomes an even larger and more serious threat to the United States and to stability in the region. I support the President’s decision to launch aggressive airstrikes against ISIS. It is critical that President Obama follows through on his commitment to destroying ISIS. While there are no good options, taking these steps will hopefully embolden moderate groups in Syria, the Kurdish forces in Iraq, and the Iraqi army to combat this threat on the ground. I am opposed to sending American combat troops to Iraq and Syria. Instead, we must work with our coalition partners to support the existing forces on the ground to destroy ISIS.

You may appreciate learning that the House of Representatives voted on a measure that would authorize the Department of Defense to arm and train moderate members of the Syrian rebels. I supported this measure, which was passed into law with strong bipartisan support, because, if successful, it will assist a moderate fighting force to counter ISIS while opposing the despotic regime of President Assad, who is closely aligned with Iran. In addition, this limited authorization requires further public disclosure of our activities involving the Syrian rebels, including detailed updates to Congress, and will give Congress more opportunities to weigh in on these efforts.

The role of Congress in critical issues of national security must not be ignored. If we are going to take strong actions to defeat ISIS, it is important that we do so in a bipartisan fashion and with Congress exercising its constitutional role. For these reasons, I have co-sponsored H.J.Res. 123 which will repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq from 2002, something the President has called for, while providing the President with short-term authority specific to our efforts to attack ISIS while long-term plans are developed. While the President has asserted that measures passed in 2001 and 2002 provide him with the authorizations he needs to defeat ISIS, I believe we will be stronger as a nation if the President is not relying on dubious legal arguments for military action in Iraq and Syria.

It is important for the citizens of California’s First District to keep me informed of their views, especially on such sensitive issues, because it allows me to more effectively represent you in Washington. Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind should further legislation related to this issues come before the U.S. House of Representatives.

I appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance. If you would like to stay connected to our office with the latest news, legislation, and other useful information, please visit my website at Thank you again for your communication, and please do not hesitate to contact my office with any future questions or comments. It is an honor to be your representative in Congress.

Doug LaMalfa
Member of Congress

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