House Speaker John Boehner said he supports President Obama’s decision to launch airstrikes in northern Iraq against ISIS forces but added that the administration's lack of a long-term strategy for the region “emboldens” the Islamic militants to act.
“The president’s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region,” said the Ohio Republican in a prepared statement Friday.
Boehner accused the president of being “disengaged” despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress and even members of its own administration of the growing threat posed by ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“Such parochial thinking only emboldens the enemy and squanders the sacrifices Americans have made,” Boehner said.
The Republican said the president must develop an effective long-term strategy for Iraq that “defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises.”
“If the president is willing to put forward such a strategy, I am ready to listen and work with him,” he said.
The president authorized the strikes Thursday to intervene in an intensifying humanitarian crisis after ISIS forces swept into the region, causing tens of thousands of members of a Kurdish religious minority into the mountains without food and water.
The ISIS attacks also threaten U.S. military in the city of Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region.
Boehner wasn’t the only Republican to criticize the president for his handling of ISIS.
“Frankly, the threat posed by ISIS requires a more fulsome response and a more comprehensive plan than has thus far been put forward by the administration,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in a statement.
“We shouldn't wait until terrorists are at the doorstep of U.S. personnel or are threatening thousand of civilians with death on a mountaintop to confront this threat.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the White House has been "paralyzed by handwringing and indecision” in dealing with ISIS.
“I’m glad the president finally is beginning to recognize the severity of the threat in Iraq, but as has become the norm for his administration, he waited to act until the situation became a security and humanitarian crisis, a crisis that could have been avoided.”