Members of the 9/11 Commission are criticizing Congress for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), arguing lawmakers have not taken the threat seriously enough.
In interviews with The Hill, veterans of the blue-ribbon panel rebuked lawmakers for a generally lax approach toward oversight and said Congress fell down on the job by not implementing the recommendations they made 10 years ago.
“Nobody can be very impressed by the congressional record here. You don’t go on a five-week vacation if you think the threat to the United States is imminent. Or, at least, I hope you don’t,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
Hamilton ripped Congress for failing to fulfill President Obama’s request for $500 million, made in late June, to train and equip moderate opposition forces in Syria. Obama said the money would help build up a rebel alternative to ISIS while helping to keep the conflict in Syria from spilling over into Iraq.
Hamilton was giving some partisan cover to the president by implying that the belated request is a huge difference maker, but he was right about the vacation. If we’re going to beat up on the president for golfing during all of this, Congress should be held accountable too.
Another member of the panel, Tim Roemer, got to the real heart of the problem (albeit while still running some interference for President Obama) when he said this threat should have been identified long ago.
Most of us in the real world don’t really care which American leaders ID the threat and take it seriously, just as long as somebody does. That we’re at this point a mere thirteen years later is surreal. It’s as if those charged with protecting the country have an MTV generation attention span on matters of national security.
Can we just get an adult in the room?