The fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi has Speaker John A. Boehner once again urging Barack Obama to develop a new strategy to win the war against the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS. But so far, the White House is staying the course.
“It is clearer than ever that the Obama administration must rethink its strategy that has repeatedly underestimated ISIL,” the Ohio Republican said in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call. “For weeks, as terrorists advanced on Ramadi, the White House insisted that ISIL was on the defensive. Now it says it has no new approach to announce. This must change — quickly.”
Boehner has been one of Obama’s most persistent critics in Congress on the issue, frequently urging him to do more to take on the terror group.
Eric Schultz, the White House deputy press secretary, acknowledged to reporters Monday that ISIL has made gains, after on May 15 declaring that their momentum has been “blunted.”
“There’s no denying that this is indeed a setback. But there’s also no denying that we will help the Iraqis take back Ramadi,” he said, per a pool report.
Schultz had no preview of any new strategy.
“Today we are supporting the Iraqi forces and the government of Iraq with precision airstrikes and advice to the Iraqi forces. Our aircraft are in the air right now and searching for ISIL targets. They will continue to do so until Ramadi is retaken. … ISIL will ultimately be defeated in Ramadi and elsewhere in Iraq because we believe the Iraqi forces have the capacity to ultimately take Ramadi with coalition support.”
Boehner, meanwhile, said the House stands ready to work with Obama to provide the resources needed to win:
“As I’ve said again and again, if we’re going to win this fight we need a broad, overarching strategy to defeat and destroy our terrorist enemies. While this is something that only President Obama, as commander-in-chief, can do, the president should know that the U.S. House of Representatives is ready to work with him to ensure our troops – as well as our Middle East partners – have the resources they need to carry out their missions.
Last week the House passed legislation with bipartisan support to reinforce our mission against ISIL. This legislation authorizes resources for security assistance to Iraqi forces, approves a pilot program to counter propaganda efforts and reaffirms our commitment to working with the sovereign Government of Iraq to bring peace and stability to the region. We hope President Obama will reconsider his opposition to this important legislation, which fully funds the president’s defense requests for fiscal year 2016, and stand ready to do what it takes to defeat these brutal terrorists and keep America safe.”
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