Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has lashed out at US President Barack Obama for his handling of the lethal attacks on army sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee last Thursday, calling the shootings an "act of war."
Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born naturalized US citizen, went on a shooting rampage at a naval base and army recruiting station murdering five, with one victim dying on Saturday of his wounds. The Muslim shooter, who is the son of a Palestinian Arab who previously was on a terrorist watch list, had posted several cryptic Islamic messages before the attack and said he was upset about Gaza's condition.
Cruz made clear that Abdulazeez went to the army sites, before being killed in a gunfight with police, "to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism," in a statement published last Friday.
While Obama said that a "lone gunman" was responsible, Cruz responded: "we need to rid ourselves of two dangerous delusions, first and foremost that a ‘lone gunman’ – as President Obama described the shooter – is somehow isolated from the larger threat of radical Islamic terrorism."
“In the modern world, no one acts in isolation,” Cruz explained. “Through social media ISIS (Islamic State), Al Qaeda, and other groups are infiltrating our nation with impunity while our government will not even admit that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem.”
Cruz drew a parallel to the 2009 Fort Hood army base shooting in which Palestinian American Army Major Nidal Hasan murdered 13 and wounded 32, as well as an attack in Little Rock, Arkansas, the same year in which a Muslim gunman shot two soldiers in front of a recruiting station, murdering one and wounding the other.
"The Obama administration was woefully reluctant to call either an act of radical Islamic terrorism, instead suggesting ‘workplace violence’ as a justification for the killings," Cruz said of the 2009 attacks.
In a call for action, he urged the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold hearings on "the need for our enlisted men and women to have the right to be armed in military facilities."
He likewise called for the passage of the Expatriate Terrorist Act, a bill that would allow the government to block American citizens from returning to the US after having traveled abroad to train with terrorist groups.
Significantly Abdulazeez in 2014 took a seven-month trip to Jordan; the FBI is currently investigating whether the shooter, who was not on any terror watch lists, had met with extremists or traveled to other countries during his stay.
“We can thoroughly overhaul our broken immigration system that is allowing this type of individual to gain citizenship,” Cruz added. “And we can accept the reality that while we might wish it otherwise, the forces of radical Islam are at war with us.”