- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rep. Charles Rangel argued Thursday that the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria is not a direct threat to national security and questioned whether the United States should be militarily involved in the region at all.

MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart asked the New York Democrat whether he believes the U.S. government is doing enough in the Middle East to combat the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS and ISIL.

“Well, one thing: I don’t see where that’s a threat to our national security,” Mr. Rangel said, The Daily Caller reported.

“ISIL in Syria and Iraq?” Mr. Diaz-Balart asked.

“No. I don’t see where it’s a threat to our national security,” Mr. Rangel answered. “It is a cancer in this part of the world, and it is true that America, and probably Europe, has no idea of the depth of feeling and discord that are in this area for religious reasons.

“Notwithstanding that, it appears as though they could be, overall, a threat — not directly to us,” he said. “But for us to involved in a military way, I don’t see how in the heck that’s going to resolve.”

The congressman said he “of course” opposes bombing the Islamic State group, arguing, “You bomb when you’re at war with a country. You’re not at war with a country until Congress says you are.”

Mr. Rangel went on to say that if Congress did approve a war, then a “mandatory military,” or draft, and a war tax should be adopted for the current conflict against the terrorist group.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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