Like her three Hawaii colleagues, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had good things to say about President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday — namely, about helping the middle class, taking care of infrastructure like bridges and airports and reforming Wall Street.

But Gabbard, a military veteran, also reiterated concerns she expressed recently to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about her frustration that the administration “refuses to recognize who our enemy is. And unless and until that happens, then it’s impossible to come up with a strategy to defeat that enemy. We have to recognize that this is about radical Islam.”

Gabbard and Takai

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard congratulates state Rep. Mark Takai, right, on winning the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District race.

Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

In a press release from Gabbard’s office after the president’s address, the congresswoman had this to say:

The President was right to come to Congress tonight and ask for authorization to use military force against ISIS; my concern however is that the Administration still has not accurately identified our enemy, nor have they clearly articulated what the strategy will be to defeat this enemy.  A reality of war is that if you don’t know and understand your enemy, you cannot defeat them.  To protect the American people, we must acknowledge that 9/11, as well as the recent violent attacks in Paris, and elsewhere around the world, are rooted in Islamic extremism.

This is as much an ideological war as it is a military war, and we have to understand what that ideology is before we can defeat it.  This is not just about one group called ISIS, or another group called al Qaeda – this is about an overall threat posed by this radical Islamic extremist agenda.  Once we understand this, then we can come up with an effective strategy to defeat this threat.

For his part, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, also a veteran, “applauded the President’s pledges of support for America’s working families,” according to his office.

Takai, newly sworn in, said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve on the president’s Escort Committee for the State of the Union address.

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