As al Qaeda-linked terrorists wreak havoc across Iraq, House Speaker John Boehner unloaded on President Obama for ignoring the escalating crisis there, contending that the president has been “taking a nap” while the situation rapidly deteriorated.
“It’s not like we haven’t seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of Western Iraq. Now they’ve taken control of Mosul. They’re 100 miles from Baghdad,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a news conference at the Capitol. “And what’s the president doing? Taking a nap!”
Earlier this year, on Jan. 9, Boehner publicly urged Obama to “maintain a long-term commitment to a successful outcome” in Iraq, and called on the president to “get engaged.”
Today, Boehner said the administration’s failure to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq “continues to have serious consequences for Iraq and American interests in the region.”
“The president has celebrated our exit from Iraq as a hallmark of his foreign policy agenda but our focus should be instead on completing our mission successfully,” Boehner said. “I would urge the president once again to get engaged before it’s too late.”
Boehner said he believed the United States should provide equipment and the technical assistance to the Iraqi government, but he declined to opine whether the U.S. should launch airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, also known as ISIL and ISIS, to help shift the momentum there.
Although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, acknowledged, “what’s happening in Iraq is obviously very troubling,” she insisted the U.S. should not be dragged back into conflict there.
“I don’t think there’s any appetite in our country for us to become engaged in any more military activity in Iraq,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol. “It doesn’t matter why. It’s a fact. The American people have been exhausted with wars.”
Criticizing President Obama for negotiating an unprecedented prisoner exchange of five ranking Taliban for POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Boehner said the trade “has encouraged” U.S. enemies and increased risk to military and civilian personnel serving around the globe.
“Those who would argue the opposite, I think, are incredibly naïve,” Boehner said.
“One of our citizens’ greatest protections was knowing that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists, and that issue now – that principle has been compromised,” he added. “America is willing to make deals with terrorists. That’s the new Obama doctrine.”
Boehner cited the administration’s “failed policies” in Syria, Libya and Egypt and pointed to Obama’s “failure to implement a broader strategy for the Middle East” as the impetus for the evolving predicament in Iraq.
“He continues to endanger our troops and citizens with his failed foreign policies,” Boehner said. “We need to elect a Congress that not only has the will to stop the president, but the power to do so, as well.”