Sunday Show Round Up

GOP slams Obama administration for failures in Iraq

June 15, 2014

Republicans attacked the administration for a lack of leadership as the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee for president, had strong words for the president and his administration during an appearance on "Meet the Press."

"What has happened in Iraq and what we’re seeing right now with ISIS is a good deal predictable by virtue of the president’s failure to act appropriately and at the extraordinary time that was presented a couple of years ago in Syria and also his failure to achieve a status of forces agreement so that we could have an ongoing presences in Iraq. Bad things happen as a result of inaction," Romney said.

President Barack Obama ruled out sending "U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," but says he is weighing other options to assist Iraq security forces.

Republicans maintained that it the president’s foreign policy failings have led to the current situation, and without decisive action now the United States is likely to face a threat akin to September 11, 2001.

"We have to ask one single question: is al Qaeda holding [territory] the size of Indiana a problem for the United States? Well, it certainly was when they were in Afghanistan and had time to plan the 9/11 event, and I guarantee you, this is a problem that we will have to face and we're either going to face it in New York City or we're going to face it here," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) on "Fox News Sunday."

Rogers said the answer wasn’t necessarily a recommitment of boots on the ground in Iraq.

"Doesn't mean troops. Doesn't mean the same kind of fight. It means you have to have a coordinated effort, but it has to be disruptive through tempo, meaning you can't fire and release. You have to fire and continue the pressure so that you can dismantle and empower other Arab militaries to be successful," Rogers said.

"‘How did we get here?’ should be the question," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on CNN’s "State of the Union."

"Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor to ISIS, was on their back just about gone. Syria blows up. They get reinforcements from Syria into Iraq. Maliki withdrawals from the coalition, he becomes a sectarian leader, Obama's administration completely hands off and we withdraw troops in 2011. That's the perfect storm. … That's President Obama's fault."

"I was there on the ground at the request of Secretary Clinton. Maliki, Barzani, and the Sunnis were willing to accept an American force. We wanted the agreement to go through parliament, which would have been a disaster," said Graham. "The Obama administration wanted to say I ended the war in Iraq, I‘m going to end the war in Afghanistan. This was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. I blame President Obama mightily for a hands off policy when it comes to Iraq." 

Graham contended that inaction in Iraq would provide the foundation for a future attack on U.S. soil, a sentiment echoed by many Republican lawmakers.

"Iraq and Syria combined are going to be the staging area for the next 9/11 if we don't do something about it. The people holding ground in Iraq also hold ground in Syria. Economic instability that comes from a collapsed Iraq will affect gas prices and our economic recovery, but the main reason is if ISIS is not dealt with, that's the staging area for a new attack on the United States." 

Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Tex.) agreed with Graham on ABC’s "This Week."

"When you look at the terrorist training ground operations in Syria and Iraq, I believe it is one of the biggest threats," said McCaul. "Hagel and Kerry need to be in the region, getting a regional strategy together with our allies to deal with this situation, because without their cooperation against the extremists this is not going to happen."