Tom Cotton: ‘We’re not winning’ fight against ISIS

Tom Cotton: ‘We’re not winning’ fight against ISIS
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate heads toward floor fight on criminal justice bill McConnell sets Monday test vote on criminal justice bill Trump attorney general pick a prolific donor to GOP candidates, groups: report MORE (R-Ark.) on Wednesday said the U.S. isn’t winning the fight against terror groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We’re not winning. The president used to say al Qaeda is on the run, during his last campaign. I guess you can say he was right, after a fashion, because they’re running wild all over the world,” the freshman lawmaker said during an event at the Hudson Institute.

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He said ISIS and groups like it control more territory today than they have in 15 years.

Cotton also cited testimony last month by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that 2014 was the worst year on record for global terrorism.

"When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years [since] such data has been compiled," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Cotton’s remarks come the day after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called it "absurd" for President Obama to say that ISIS is an offshoot of al Qaeda.

"To me that's absurd, because he's been president for six years. ISIS didn't even start in Iraq, it started in Syria," McCarthy said late Tuesday on Fox's "On the Record," noting Obama pushed for the U.S. to leave Iraq.

Cotton said the U.S wouldn’t win the fight against ISIS by “apologizing” or “trying to accommodate Islamic terrorists who want to kill us.”

“We have to show Islamic radicals that we will not retreat, and unfortunately I think the president has shown them the opposite of that,” he said, noting that there could be more U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of Obama’s than if he had left a residual force behind in 2011.