Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday said destroying the Islamic State and securing the border are the best steps the Obama administration could come up with to protect U.S. security interests.
Cruz criticized President Barack Obama for offering a fumbling response over the last few weeks, saying alternatively that there is no plan, then saying the plan is to make the Islamic State a "manageable problem."
"The objective here is not to make ISIS manageable," Cruz said on the Senate floor, using the other name for the terrorist group. "The objective here is to protect the national security interest of the United States and to destroy terrorists who have declared jihad on our nation."
Cruz acknowledged the need for some sanctions such as blocking Islamic State's access to funds, but stressed that, "because of the very nature of ISIS, the response must be principally military."
"We should do everything possible to make ISIS understand that there are serious ramifications for threatening to attack the United States, for murdering American citizens," he said. The group has executed two American reporters.
Cruz said a secure border is another key component, in light of threat the Islamic State has made to attack America.
"As long as our border isn't secure, we're making it far too easy for the terrorists to carry through on those promises," he said.
He said another component must be stripping the U.S. citizenship of any American who leaves the country to fight alongside the Islamic State. Cruz has introduced legislation making this change, and said it's needed to stop Islamic State supporters from moving freely across the border and perhaps planning attacks in the United States.
Obama is expected to explain his strategy to congressional leaders on Tuesday, and make a public statement about it Wednesday. But Cruz said he's already unhappy that Obama does not believe he needs congressional approval to what Obama admits could be a three-year military effort.
"If this is indeed the case, it is incumbent on him to come to Congress and lay out his strategy so that we and the American people are clear on it," Cruz said.
Obama has indicated that he only wants to provide air support for other ground forces, and that he does not intend to use U.S. ground troops at all.
Bu Cruz also criticized Obama for trying to build a coalition of partner countries without fully spelling out what he wants to accomplish, or how he wants to accomplish it. "The mission determines the coalition, not the other way around," he said.