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Bridget Johnson

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August 12, 2014 - 8:55 am

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.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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I was waiting for Hannity to come on Thursday night (because of his interview with Netanyahu) and it was the night the Big 0 went on TV to announce the bombing of IS (or ISIS or ISIL) and the dropping of relief material to the Christians and the Yazidis. What struck me was how out to lunch the Big 0 is. He spoke of Iraq as a unified state. I think that is gone. The Iraq we knew is no more. IS is not going away. Maliki has so alientated the Sunnis that there is no hope of putting Iraq back together. The best we can do is salvage what's left, in particular, providing assistance to the Kurds, thereby allowing them to fend off the depredations of IS. Humpty Dumpty had a great big fall, and nobody can put it together again.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Outside of Israel there's only one rational actor in the Mid-East, the Kurds. If the corrupt Maliki government hadn't black marketed the arms meant for them the situation would be much less dire.
That said, we should be arming them with heavier weapons and anti-armor missiles; we shud insert special operations troops to laze targets for heavy bomber launched smart bombs; &, with the stupid program to beach the A-10, why not offer it to the Kurds, flight instruction would cost a lot less than mothballs or destruction. Finally, Turkey is going to be Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cubed soon & it would be strategically important to have an independent Kurdish Nation on their border.
Spengler posits we'll need 3MM young male dead to force an end, let's do all we can to make sure it's the right 3MM.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Graham is technically correct but Obama's point that we need an Iraq to defend before we defend it, has value too.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reconciliation means cave to ISIS demands.

Same playbook here: bipartisanship means cave to Democrats' demands.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
President Barack Hussein Obama removed the U.S. troops from Iraq, which has led to the present disasters. See the article by Victor Hanson on "Obama's Dross."
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
That he did, under the Bush/Maliki Status of Forces agreement.

The time up to that point was also a disaster, and an even bigger one, as over 4,000 American troops lost their lives, with thousands more losing one or more limbs, and for nothing remotely worth the price.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I beg to differ. IMHO when Bush left office Iraq had been pacified. Obama came into office wanting to remove the troops. He said so over and over again. He made no effort to get Maliki to agree to keep the troops there. So, now Iraq has gone, poof.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
President Barack Hussein Obama removed the U.S. troops from Iraq, with the present consequences. See Victor Hanson's article on PJMedia on "Obama's Dross."
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
The nytimes (naturally) draws a parallel between America's invasion of Iraq and the rise of al Baghdadi, these days calling himself Caliph Ibrahim.

Interesting background, though, and strange nytimes style of calling every male being on the planet "Mr".

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/world/middleeast/us-actions-in-iraq-fueled-rise-of-a-rebel.html
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
There absolutely is a parallel. The better question is how can anyone claim there is not?
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
From most reports ISIS is and continues to become financially and militarily independent of any existing entity or government, even Al Qaeda & honchos in the "Muslim world" who have denounced it.

Al Maliki stepping down and a reconstituted Iraqi government that is more inclusive of non-Shiites does seem a little beside the point in terms of affecting ISIS' rampage.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
The thing no one realizes is that you can kill thousands of fighters but it won't matter. The spiritual leaders (those who spout the "enslave the infidels or kill them" surahs/suras from the Koran) will still be alive, to encourage and motivate others to kill, rape, and pillage.

Until you kill the head of the snake (the clerics who are calling for jihad) this will NEVER end.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It is impossible to have a successful outcome in Iraq without hitting and diminishing ISIS."

Graham is right. McCain has said basically the same and is right too. The problem is that McCain and Graham have both wanted to send the American military into pretty much every country in the middle east and keep them there, "for however long it takes!", which would be forever. They have both become like the Boy Who Cried Wolf and a lot more than three times, so most people, who could be persuaded one way or the other, are just going to figure "There they go again".

Now if someone like Rand Paul, who doesn't have all that baggage, were to speak out for attacking ISIS, that would carry more weight. With McCain and Graham, it's just going to push in the direction of staying out completely. These two old blowhard fools just need to shut up.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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