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Politics / Issues

Sen. Bill Nelson: We Need to Attack ISIS Now; Help Ukraine


U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is in Tampa today for the U.S. Special Operation’s change of command ceremony.

(Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel assumed command of U.S. Special Operations Command from Navy Adm. William H. McRaven at a ceremony officiated by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in the Tampa Convention Center.  Votel is the tenth commander of SOCOM and is now responsible for ensuring the readiness of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations Forces. )

During that event, Nelson praised the administration's decision to conduct spy flights over territory controlled by the ISIS Islamic group in Iraq and Syria. But he says more needs to be done.

"The head of the snake is in Syria. And if you want to kill the snake, you need to cut off its head," he said. "We can do this, and I think the announcement two days ago by the administration that they're putting in surveillance flights - both manned and unmanned - is a clear step in the right direction."

Nelson says the next step is putting ISIS militants "in the crosshairs" of the U.S. military.

"They will stop at nothing, and have said that they're going to put the black flag of ISIS in the White House," he said. "So their intention is very clear and it's time for us to get on, in addition to Iraq, start hitting them where their headquarters and where their head people are."

Also, Nelson came back from a recent visit to Ukraine, where he met with government leaders. He says despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's "head fakes and sleight of hand," the Russian Army has now entered Ukraine.

"So we've got to wake up to this," he said. "I have called the White House, I have just spoken to one of the assistant Secretaries of Defense, and said we've got to give them the means by which they can defend themselves."

Nelson says their request is not for guns and ammunition, but for timely intelligence and training. He says he will offer an amendment to an upcoming defense bill to help out the Ukrainians.

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