House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) on Friday accused the Obama administration of trying to limit its military options in Iraq even as an offshoot group of Al Qaeda is gaining strength in that country and threatening U.S. interests.
McKeon was reacting to a letter hat National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday. It was sent just before the House considered a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to consult with Congress before sending troops back to Iraq to mitigate the rise of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
President Barack Obama 's national security advisor asked Congress on Friday to terminate authorization to use military force in Iraq. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Rice told Boehner that Obama has repeatedly said he has no intention to return to combat operations in Iraq, but has also said targeted military action may be needed. In that case, she said Obama would consult with Congress.
Instead of passing the resolution, Rice suggested that the House pass legislation ending the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq.
"With American combat troops having completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 8, 2011, the Iraq AUMF is no longer used for any U.S. government activities and the administration fully supports its repeal," she wrote.
"Such a repeal would go much further in giving the American people confidence that groups forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq."
McKeon blasted that letter as a sign the administration wants to do nothing to stop the rise of ISIS, which the administration itself has said poses a danger to the United States.
"Obama Administration officials are warning us daily that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is 'worse than Al Qaeda' and an extreme threat to the American people," McKeon said. "The American people aren't worried that the President will send the military back to Iraq. They're worried about a deadly terrorist state that can hit us from Wall Street to Main Street.
"They're worried that this president refuses to do anything, at anytime, in any way, to stop the flood of national security crises that are popping up around the globe."
McKeon asked why Rice was asking Congress to pass legislation that would confirm to Americans that "the president will not confront a clear and present danger" to the country.
"Where is her plan to stop this looming threat?" he asked. "Where is her request for additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to monitor the situation? Why isn't she over here, building support to stop a common enemy?
"This isn't just absurd. We're past absurd. This is dangerous. This administration is fiddling while the world burns, and now they're demanding Congress play with them."
Read Rice's letter to Boehner here: