Matt Gaetz: Restore strength, destroy ISIS

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I’ve served with more than two dozen veterans in the Florida Legislature. All are heroes who contributed to Florida’s pro-military laws. It’s why I was shocked and humbled recently when the Veterans of Foreign Wars & American Legion both honored me as their “Legislator of the Year.”

I’m proud that the causes we championed together were successful. Today, Florida is funding veteran health care, handicapped accessible housing and skills training more than ever before. We killed taxes on veteran organizations. Forever.

But our veterans deserve more than just high quality service and care. Every military family deserves a foreign policy worthy of their heroic service. The last eight years have been a foreign policy blooper reel.

The “Russian Reset” only reset Russia’s border into the Ukraine while Putin’s thugs blew up an airliner. Hillary Clinton’s “pivot to Asia” ignored China’s aggression in the South China Sea. North Korea and China relentlessly launch cyberattacks against America. We aren’t prepared. Muslim terrorism is on the march. We need a plan.

Admiral Robert Kelly is the highest ranking retired military officer in Northwest Florida. He along with Gen. Gerald McCoy (retired) and Gen. Richard Secord (retired) endorsed my candidacy for Congress because we have one.

Step 1: Identify and destroy ISIS. No more politically correct hand wringing or bed wetting. ISIS are radical Muslim terrorists. Their lifeblood is money and people. They make $1 billion per year from taxes and black market oil. Our military must prioritize destruction of ISIS tax collection infrastructure. As for oil fields, we either take them over or take them out. Any port shipping ISIS oil must be shut down. Curtailing the size of ISIS’s fighting force requires a focus on the migration of foreign fighters and a partnership with social media platforms to stop the spread of ISIS propaganda.

Step 2: Contain Iran. The catastrophic Iran nuclear deal is a principal reason our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us. German intelligence already reports Iran is violating the deal. $150 billion in assets have been unfrozen. Iran will spread terror through proxies such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Yemeni Houthis. We must reimpose sanctions on Iran and make clear that we will never tolerate a nuclear Iran.

Step 3: Support Israel and coordinate allies. Israel is an island of hope in a sea of despair. They must maintain a qualitative military edge, supported by the United States. Arab allies must be led to act. Saudi Arabia has a 250,000 man standing army. Egypt has three hundred F-16s. Gulf Cooperation Council states can contribute funds to a military campaign against ISIS. But nothing will happen unless we rally these assets and restore America’s trust in the world.

Step 4: A clear mission for U.S. Forces. Our special forces are spread too thin. We need 2,000 more Navy SEALS. We must stop using special operators as long-term law enforcement/police. U.S. efforts should focus on logistics, intelligence and support. American blood cannot be the sole currency for global liberation.

Step 5: Rebuild and reorganize our military. President Obama will leave us with a weakened military, too top heavy and bureaucratic. We have more admirals than ships. If our military were an alligator, we would have the longest tail in the swamp – but not enough teeth. We must build and maintain the most technically advanced, flexible, mobile, lethal force on earth.

Military families and veterans have done their job to protect our freedom. It’s Washington’s strategic failures that have let us down. We deserve better. Let’s use the bounty of military brainpower in Northwest Florida to get this right. A peaceful and prosperous future depends on it.

State Rep. Matt Gaetz is a Republican candidate for Congress.

Guest Author


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