A day after Islamic terrorists killed 129 and injured nearly 350 people in attacks in Paris, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said the battle has to be taken to groups like ISIS. U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said the event is a reminder that the U.S. can’t be complacent.
“You can’t win the war on terrorism on defense. You have to win on offense,” Cotton said during a Saturday visit to Jonesboro.
Cotton, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the attacks were a reminder of the threat facing the organized world. He said the terrorist organization, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks, hates the American way of life “and our freedoms as well.”
Boozman, Arkansas’ senior U.S. senator, said the U.S. should support France and maintain a focus on terrorist groups.
“As a nation, we stand with France, our ally and partner in the war on terrorism, and offer our support in the wake of these unprovoked attacks in France. The French government has been resolute in its efforts to confront radical Islam. We too must face this threat with the resolve required to eliminate it. The senseless attacks in Paris are a very tragic reminder that radical Islamic terrorism remains a very real threat to free and democratic nations and we must have a global strategy to attack terrorists and an effective plan to keep Americans safe here at home. We cannot be complacent in the face of this threat.”
According to published reports, the attacks started late Friday night outside a soccer stadium where France and Germany were playing in a soccer match. From there, the attackers went into a nearby music hall and opened fire.
Earlier Friday, U.S. forces killed Jihad John, an ISIS leader, during a strike. Cotton said “Jihad John” tortured and killed innocent people and that “he had no love lost over his demise.” Later on Saturday, there was a report that an ISIS leader in Libya was killed in an airstrike. Cotton said while the deaths were good news, the terrorist group must be systemically taken out.
“They are not going to stop by killing one or two of them. You have to uproot them entirely,” Cotton said.
On Friday, before the attacks, President Obama said on ABC that ISIS had been “contained” in the land near Syria. Cotton said he believes containment is not an option in dealing with ISIS.
“The truth is that you have to defeat and destroy the Islamic State,” Cotton said.
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, also sought to politicize the French event by saying the attacks were a result of a lack of leadership in the war on terrorism.
“We need a wholesale change in leadership,” Crawford said, noting it was needed in policy and in the White House.
Crawford also criticized the statement made by Obama that ISIS is contained.
“We cannot fight this kind of war and enemy through the lens of political correctness. We have to fight. This time, it was in Paris, France. Next time, it could be Paris, Tennessee or Paris, Texas.”
Cotton was in Jonesboro Saturday to present the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Gold Star and the World War II Victory Medal to the family of Roy Killian. Killian, who was a private in the U.S. Army, was killed in the Battle of Metz in France in November 1944.