Top Republicans on Thursday delivered stinging rebukes of President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq as Sunni Muslim militants surged toward Baghdad.
“I believe that history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain that it deserves,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor.
McCain, one of the president's most vocal foreign policy critics, said Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 was a political calculation that risked America’s national security. He called for the president to get an entirely new national security team that included Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director in 2012.
The al Qaeda-affiliated group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham had overrun much of northern Iraq and by Thursday morning were pushing towards Baghdad. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who also spoke out urging U.S. involvement, said it now seems inevitable the militants will reach the Iraqi capital.
“I have never been more worried about another 9/11 than I am right now,” Graham said.
Graham urged the president to use air strikes against the militants, but advised against deploying troops on the ground.
“It’s not like we haven’t seen this problem coming for over a year. And it’s not like we haven’t seen, over the last five or six months, these terrorists moving in taking control of Western Iraq," House Speaker John Boehner told reporters.
"And what’s the president doing? Taking a nap,” he added.
-- NBC's Carrie Dann contributed to this report.
First published June 12 2014, 8:56 AM