Senator Feingold is slinking around his soft record on national security by proposing a so-called “plan” of things we are already doing – and things he’s fought against. As this article noted, “If Feingold is running to change the status quo but his plan is exactly what the Obama Administration is already doing – it is not at all clear what the point of electing Feingold to the Senate will actually do for the fight against ISIS.”
In the wake of numerous terrorist attacks at home and broad, Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democratic Senate candidate in Wisconsin who is seeking to get his old job in the U.S. Senate back, is rolling out a new television advertisement and a “new” plan to get “tough” with the Islamic State terrorist group. But while Feingold’s rhetoric is tough, his record is beyond soft when it comes to national security issues. Some of the very things the now-macho Feingold claims to support for the fight against ISIS he opposed when the enemy was al Qaeda.
“To beat ISIS, we need to be strategic and tough,” intones Feingold in a bizarre shot that features him slinking around the corner of a pillar at the Milwaukee War Memorial. The former Obama administration diplomat wants to cut off ISIS’ supply of oil, arms and cash while using special operations forces and air power to deliver targeted strikes. None of these ideas are new; they are part of a strategy currently employed by the U.S. military across the portions of Syria and Iraq that ISIS fighters maintain control over.
The kind of targeted air strikes that Feingold calls for – and that are already underway – would be utterly impossible if not for aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Navy’s front-line combat aircraft for close air support and strikes. Repeatedly, Feingold as a U.S. Senator introduced legislative language to gut the Super Hornet program. In both stand-alone bills and proposed amendments, Feingold called for the Secretary of Defense to cancel the fighter program without any justification. Why he once waged legislative war on a weapons system that he now sings the praises of is something Feingold has never explained.
On broader aspects of national security, Feingold voted at least 11 times against the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual Department of Defense budget bill that authorizes all spending across all branches of the military, including pay for service members.
Other components of Feingold’s plan – again, which is already being implemented by the military right now – include expanded intelligence capabilities and holding Middle Eastern allies “accountable.” Just how those allies can be held accountable for the actions of ISIS is unclear, and something Feingold doesn’t address on his campaign website, which goes into a bit more depth about his anti-ISIS plan. Further, on the matter of intelligence collection, Feingold voted against the Patriot Act and other measures designed to give the intelligence community the tools they need to track down terrorists.
The lack of originality in Feingold’s plan raises questions about his presentation of it on the campaign trail. If Feingold is running to change the status quo but his plan is exactly what the Obama Administration is already doing – it is not at all clear what the point of electing Feingold to the Senate will actually do for the fight against ISIS.