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Congressman Steve Russell

Representing the 5th District of Oklahoma


Congressman Russell Details Plan to Defeat ISIS and Addresses Syrian Refugee Policy

November 19, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Steve Russell (OK-5) spoke on the House floor to call on the President to lead the world’s fight against ISIS and for America to take a thoughtful, deliberative approach rather than a knee-jerk reaction of fear towards the Syrian refugees.


Excerpts as prepared:


What the President can do to fight ISIS: 

“Whatever the President’s political advantage, whatever the supposed cost saving, whatever the heartfelt conviction of why some believed abandonment was the optimum course of action, it has instead created a political nightmare, and has bled more treasure and lives than any estimates our continued presence might have caused. Moreover, it has sickened the hearts of world humanity to see civilization taking such punishment from savages when a quiver of options have been available to shoot at the heart of the problem. America has the capacity, the intelligence and the goodwill to rally the nations. But it cannot be a unitary effort. It must be collective. It cannot be a defensive effort. It must be offensive to blunt further attack.

As President Hollande of France was saying, “Enough is enough,” President Obama proceeded to tell America and the world what the attacks on Paris were not—and what our actions would not be. Mr. Speaker, this Congress and the American people need rather to hear what the attack was and what our actions will be to make them stop. The President, distracted by his ideological efforts on climate, has failed to see that the world is on fire. But the people of our great Republic have not failed to see it. They are calling on us to stand with France and say, “Enough is enough.”

What should be our immediate actions? How about some of this: Cripple Raqqa. It is clear it is the symbolic center of ISIS power. The President’s cabinet says, “We are worried about collateral damage and civilian casualties.” News flash! The most humane thing we can do to end the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people is to cripple what ISIS draws its strength from. Destroy their infrastructure. Hammer their electricity capacity and drop their transmission lines. Eliminate their cell towers where they draw their communications capacity. Destroy the bridges on their roads of ingress and egress. Hammer the oil refining installations they possess and fund themselves with—we have the ability to rebuild them later but ISIS would be diminished financially by their loss. Put a different way, the most humane thing we can do to protect civilians is to disrupt ISIS’ immediate ability to advance and recruit. And if the US leads, others will stand shoulder to shoulder. We need our president to lead.” 

What every American can do:


“Now let’s talk about immediate counter messaging. Here is where EVERY American can help. American news stations and newsprint can join the fight by not putting ISIS produced videos and imagery on American networks as B-Roll on our newscasts and in articles in our newspapers! Replace it rather with cross-hairs and explosions of their defeat or show the world their acts of barbarity and the human suffering they have created for their own people. Use that for B-Roll. America must stop aiding and abetting these evil savages that use our free press, our laws and our protections to destroy ours. Americans, write your local news stations and tell them to stop!”


The Refugee Crisis:


“America is a lamp that lightens the horizon of civilized and free mankind. The Statue of Liberty cannot have a stiff arm. Her arm must continue to keep the torch burning brightly. If we use our passions, anger and fear were to snuff out her flame by xenophobic and knee-jerk policy, the enemy wins. Period.”

“America protects her liberty and defends her shores not by punishing those who would be free. She does it by guarding liberty with her life. Americans need to sacrifice and wake up. We must not become them. They win if we give up who we are and even more so without a fight.  

We guard our way of life by vigilance. We must be watchful. We have to have each other’s back and be alert to dangers around us. We must speak up when we see something unusual. By maintaining who we are amidst the threat, amidst the hatred, amidst the trials, we win. Patrick Henry did not say give me Safety or give me Death! He said Give me Liberty.”


You can view a complete transcript of prepared remarks here.