Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized President Obama’s latest vacation speech on Iraq as “yet another” address “without a strategy or vision to protect the homeland against an increasingly lethal ISIS threat.”
“ISIS has repeatedly expressed its intent to kill Americans and they are gaining increased capability. President Obama should make it clear – ISIS is not just a threat to the Middle East, it is very much a threat to the American people and the homeland,” Graham said in a statement.
“It’s time we go on offense and hit ISIS where they reside. We need a sustained air campaign to slow momentum and diminish ISIS capability.”
Obama’s brief statement at Martha’s Vineyard focused on the ongoing airdrops and airstrikes in northern Iraq and the selection of a new prime minister designate, Haider al-Abadi.
“The United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi people. We are also ready to work with other countries in the region to deal with the humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge in Iraq. Mobilizing that support will be easier once this new government is in place,” said Obama, who had dragged his feet on authorizing action against ISIS after the fall of Mosul because he insisted on Iraq putting an inclusive government in place first.
“These have been difficult days in Iraq — a country that has faced so many challenges in its recent history. And I’m sure that there will be difficult days ahead. But just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces,” the president continued. “Without question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on today’s progress, and come together to support a new and inclusive government.”
Graham said that “when it comes to Iraq, I agree with President Obama that the appointment of a new Iraqi Prime Minister is a step toward helping unify Iraq.”
“I fear Prime Minister Maliki is simply incapable of bringing Sunni’s back into a unified Iraqi government. It’s time for him to go. A new prime minister at least creates the possibility Sunni Iraqi’s will break from ISIS in Iraq,” he said.
“However President Obama is wrong in believing that political reconciliation in Baghdad will address the threat posed to the region and us by ISIS. Disorder in Iraq is a threat, no doubt. But ISIS has goals and objectives which extend far beyond Baghdad.”
The senator stressed that “from the American national security perspective, it is impossible to have a successful outcome in Iraq without hitting and diminishing ISIS.”
“That seems to be a fact President Obama is incapable or unwilling to address.”