House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) conceded that whatever happens in Iraq, “it’s going to have consequences for us.”
“We have a group in there, whether you call it al-Qaeda, ISIS, whatever you call it, that wishes us no good, and has historically taken a lot of Americans’ lives so that we have a real stake in this, a real interest in this. Then the question becomes, OK, what do you do. I think that’s a much more complicated issue — once we decide it has consequences for us, what do we do,” Hoyer told MSNBC this morning. “I think we’re going to have to talk about that.”
Hoyer said he I talked to the administration over the weekend, including Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken.
“I think we’re going to have to see what options are available to us to try to dissuade and to defeat the proponents of terrorism. Clearly, there’s a lot of blame to go around. But right now, we need to look at what can we get done in an effective way that will have some long-term consequence, not just temporary,” he stressed.
He added that the Sunni-Shiite divide in Iraq is “part of the problem, but not all of the problem.” President Obama has pressed sectarian reconciliation as an indispensable part of any plan to rid Iraq of terrorists.
“You have a group of whether it’s in Syria, in Iraq, in Iran, that very much wants to see a hegemony of their group in power and others shut out. That’s not going to work. So we need both a short-term strategy and a longer- term strategy.”
Hoyer said he believes Obama is within the law to act as he sees fit in militarily addressing the terrorists in Iraq.
“We gave him some very broad powers,” he said. “We may want to consider those at some point in time, but I think he has the authority to act, yes.”