GOP chairman: White House shouldn't 'micromanage' ISIS fight

GOP chairman: White House shouldn't 'micromanage' ISIS fight

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee will recommend that a four-star general on the ground in Iraq direct the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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“It is very important that ISIS be dealt a significant tactical defeat in the near term, and I think you need somebody on the ground to redevelop the confidence in our allies,” Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Furious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble MORE (R-Texas) told reporters on Tuesday. “The president is absolutely wrong. His strategy is not working, and something more significant needs to take place.”

Thornberry said he plans to raise that issue as part of a task force looking at short- and long-term solutions to ISIS.

Right now, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland is the commander of the coalition fighting ISIS. But Thornberry said MacFarland hasn’t been given the responsibility to run the military campaign he'd like to see a leader have.

Instead, Thornberry wants a four-star general in Iraq to stop the White House and the National Security Council from micromanaging U.S. forces' targets and other aspects of the military campaign.

Military officials have provided the White House with suggestions for stepping up the fight against ISIS, Thornberry added, but those recommendations were rejected by the administration. He declined to provide specifics.

“I better not,” he said when asked to elaborate on plans that have been rejected by the White House. “But I do believe the military has been trying to give the president some options, and he’s not doing it.”

Thornberry also declined to discuss other recommendations he'll make as part of the task force, such as whether the United States should have more boots on the ground in Syria than the 50 special operations troops there now.

He did, however, warn that Congress should not micromanage the military, either.

“The military has to be in charge of the military campaign against ISIS,” he said.

Thornberry also said that while Syrian refugees need to be properly vetted before entering the country, an undue focus has been placed on refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks.

“To me it’s just a matter of common sense that we should not have people come to this country unless we can be reasonably assured they’re not going to try to hurt this country,” he said. “Having said that, I think there’s a whole lot of talk, like I’m getting a whole lot of calls to my office, on refugees. Well, that’s not the only threat ISIS poses.”

Thornberry said there needs to be a vetting plan for refugees approved by the intelligence community. He did not elaborate on specific recommendations, though.

“I don’t know, and I can’t give you, all the details of the information that is collected or shared about refugees who are coming,” he said. “That’s what needs to be examined, and that’s the reason for some time, I think, some folks on the Hill have been saying the intelligence community needs to put a stamp of approval on the vetting that takes place.”