National Security

Crenshaw Warns Against Leaving ‘Vacuum’ for ISIS in Syria

The GOP rep also argued it shouldn't be controversial to ensure security at U.S. souther border

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) warned Wednesday against leaving a "vacuum of power" for ISIS in Syria by which they could regain strength. The Texas congressman also said securing the border, including through a southern border wall, "shouldn't be controversial."

Fox News' "The Daily Briefing" host Dana Perino asked Crenshaw about Syria in the wake of an ISIS attack in the country on Wednesday that left multiple U.S. service members dead and wounded. Perino, commenting on the long-term commitment required to fight an ideological war, asked if "we have gotten away from reminding people that this is a generational conflict."

"That's exactly right, and that's the message I always try to send," Crenshaw said. "We have to ask ourselves, what does mission success look like, and if we try to give the American people a false sense of what mission success is, we're always going to come up short. That's why mission success is actually preventing another attack. And when we give groups like ISIS or the Taliban room to plan and space to grow, they will do just that. And they will always wake up the next morning thinking about how they're going to attack the United States."

Crenshaw also highlighted possible consequences of removing American troops from Syria.

"If we remove American troops, it does a few things. First, it puts our Kurdish allies in great danger from all sides, from the Turks, from ISIS, from all sides. It's not good for them. It also creates a corridor for Iran to reach Lebanon and increase its influence there. We have the possibility of an all-out conflict between Israel and Hezbollah on Syrian territory [that] could really destabilize the region," Crenshaw said.

"But third, it's what I stated before, if you give them space, if you leave a vacuum of power, then they feel relaxed, like they can wake up the next day and start planning attacks on the homeland. And that's what we have to prevent," he continued.

Crenshaw agreed that the government shutdown over border security is "petty" in comparison, arguing that it shouldn't be controversial to agree to President Donald Trump's funding request for the wall and border security more broadly.

"I can't believe this is a debate we're having. I can't believe this is controversial. We're asking for $5 billion. We have a holistic plan to secure the southern border. Yes, it includes physical barriers. Yes, I understand that upsets some people, but you know what, border agents need that, they need that extra tool in their tool kit to defend the border. We have 400,000 people crossing, just apprehended just last year. That's an enormous number. We need to secure the border," Crenshaw said.