Just hours after President Obama’s announcement late Thursday that the U.S. would strike limited targets in Iraq, there already appear to be some divisions in Congress about whether the intervention is warranted—or not enough.
On recess until Sept. 8, Congress will have little formal say in Obama’s Iraq policy. But the president vowed to continue consulting lawmakers, and a number of key leaders quickly voiced their support for the air strikes against the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, and his counterpart in the House, California Republican Rep. Buck McKeon, said the president’s actions were justified by the events on the ground. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland described the airstrikes as “appropriate” and “necessary,” reiterating the need for the Iraqis to form a more inclusive government.
But congressional hawks were quick to point out that Obama wasn’t doing enough, arguing that the goal of U.S. intervention should be to defeat ISIS. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina issued a joint statement calling on the president to leave behind the attempt to contain ISIS and present a “strategic approach” for stopping them.
“The president needs to devise a comprehensive strategy to degrade ISIS,” the senators wrote. “This should include the provision of military and other assistance to our Kurdish, Iraqi, and Syrian partners who are fighting ISIS. It should include U.S. airstrikes against ISIS leaders, forces, and positions both in Iraq and Syria. It should include support to Sunni Iraqis who seek to resist ISIS. And none of this should be contingent on the formation of a new government in Baghdad.”
House Speaker John Boehner also called for a comprehensive effort.
“The president needs a long-term strategy—one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises—and he needs to build the support to sustain it,” Boehner said. “If the president is willing to put forward such a strategy, I am ready to listen and work with him.”
Alabama Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne said the danger ISIS presents to the American people warrants greater involvement.
“While I want U.S. involvement to be limited, we can no longer sit on the sidelines while Iraq falls back into the hands of terrorists,” Byrne tweeted.
A few were more cautious about getting re-involved, however. House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel said only that he supported the “relief effort” and made no mention of the airstrikes. And Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson took to Twitter to push a “No New War” petition, which opposes U.S. military intervention in Iraq and has garnered more than 25,000 signatures.
U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Have Begun
After conducting humanitarian air-drops Thursday night, the U.S. is now going after ISIS.
What We're Following See More »
"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."
Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.