U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added to the overblown hype on ISIS, now the Islamic state, when he said on Wednesday the terror group represents a serious threat “our allies all over the Middle East,” Europe and the United States.
"It’s a threat to every stabilized country on Earth, and it’s a threat to us," Hagel claimed.
"[ISIS] may not appear to be an imminent threat to the United States," he said, but "it is a threat to the United States. It is a threat, clear threat, to our partners in that area, and it is imminent."
Hagel characterized the al-Qaeda offshoot financed by Saudi Arabia and trained by the U.S. military as "a force that is sophisticated. It’s dynamic, it’s strong, it’s organized, it’s well financed, it’s competent.”
The Pentagon is currently deciding how to respond to the Islamic State, Hagel explained, and the "finality of those assessments will be completed in the next few days."
"We’ll have a further context of what recommendations they’ll make. In the meantime, we’re doing everything we can, as I said in those two general areas, protect our people and assist [Iraqi Security Forces] in their efforts to defeat [ISIS]," Hagel said.
The Defense Secretary’s remarks echo those of two stalwart Republican neocons, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. On Sunday both claimed the Islamic State represents a direct threat to the United States.
McCain pinned blame on the Obama administration for pulling troops out of Iraq. “It is important to recognize that we did have this situation stabilized thanks to the surge, that we could have left a residual force behind which would’ve stabilized the situation,” he said. "It’s the situation that we have allowed to deteriorate because we didn’t leave troops behind.”
Graham warned the same situation will unfold in Afghanistan when troops leave. “The counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan is a front-line defense” for the United States, he argued. Graham said it is “being destroyed by this idea of leaving completely in 2017.”
“Mr. president, reverse your course keep our counterterrorism capabilities in effect to protect us here at home,” he said.
Earlier this week IS added to the argument by the U.S. government that the war on terror needs renewed emphasis. “If America attacks Iraq every American embassy in the world will be exposed and attacked with car bombs,” an online post warned. “If the United States bomb Iraq, every American citizen is a legitimate target,” another said.
ISIS, described by Rupert-funded Vice magazine as “total social media pros,” posted the threats against Americans on Twitter on the @ansaar999 account and under the #CalamityWillBefallUS hashtag.