On this, the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Senator Joni Ernst said she is “thankful” for a new direction in the “overall War on Terror.”
“We finally do have a president that is very focused on really destroying ISIS, destroying al Qaeda, putting the Taliban back in its place instead of just trying to contain these different issues,” Ernst said during an interview with Radio Iowa.
Ernst retired from the Iowa National Guard after a 23 year career which included a tour of duty in Iraq. Ernst said the military has greater flexibility now in pursuing the “types of folks who put together the 9/11 attacks.”
“I see that as a developing issue with this president, allowing our military leaders to determine the course that we take to destroying the enemy and I’m thankful for that,” Ernst said. “I don’t like to see us tying the hands of our military leaders.”
President Trump has been steadily transferring war-fighting authority he and previous presidents have had to the Pentagon. Ernst and other supporters of these moves say it gives commanders authority to make quick tactical decisions, rather than wait for a go-ahead that might come when conditions have changed. Critics suggest Trump may be trying insulate himself from criticism when military operations go wrong.
Ernst was the commander of the Iowa National Guard’s largest batallion until September of 2014, shortly before she was elected to the U.S. Senate. Ernst was the Iowa National Guard’s deputy chief of staff when she retired on November 30, 2015.