Republican leaders took to the Sunday talk show circuit to criticize what they see as a weak response by the Obama administration to the crisis in Iraq, making the case that the emboldened militant group ISIL is also a threat to the United States.
On "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused Obama of having no game plan for handling ISIL and simply attempting to avoid "a bad news story."
"So Mr. President, you have never once spoken directly to the American people about the threat we face from being attacked from Syria, now Iraq," said Graham. "What is your strategy to stop these people from attacking the homeland? They have expressed a desire to do so."
"[Obama is] trying to avoid a bad news story on his watch," he said.
On NBC's ""Meet the Press," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) echoed Graham's points, saying that ISIL is "more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11" and that Obama is "a weak leader" for doing too little.
"We see this coming," said King. "For the president to say we're doing airstrikes, we're not doing anything else. We're not going to use American combat troops, not going to do this, not going to do that. What kind of leadership is that? You should never let the enemy know what you're going to do."
"What a weak leader," said King. "Can you imagine Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman [not taking action]?"
President Obama, who once called ISIL a "jayvee team," seems to recognize that there was an initial miscalculation of ISIL's strength, but it's not clear how the administration is compensating for that misreading.
"There is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the expectations of policy makers both in and outside of Iraq," Obama said on Saturday. "Part of that is not a full appreciation of the full degree to which the Iraq security forces, when they are far away from Baghdad, did not have the incentive or capacity to hold ground against an aggressive adversary."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.