Many members of Congress gave President Barack Obama their support Wednesday night shortly after a prime-time speech outlining his strategy to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State, in both Iraq and Syria. But their “I told you so”’s came from very different political viewpoints on the role of U.S. military force in the world.
For weeks, the more hawkish lawmakers of the Republican party have been on the sidelines demanding more military action in Iraq and Syria, criticizing the president for what they claim is indecisiveness and a lack of strategy. Democrats have largely adopted a wait-and-see approach, not wanting to break ranks with the president while acknowledging the seriousness of the Islamic State threat — and both parties are acutely aware of the political vulnerability presented by a war vote.
“Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama said. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq … if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”“My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together,” Obama continued. “So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.”