House GOP leaders: Keep Iran out of the mix in Iraq
June 18th, 2014
02:00 PM ET
8 years ago

House GOP leaders: Keep Iran out of the mix in Iraq

Washington (CNN) – Ahead of a White House meeting Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner called on President Barack Obama to lay out a "broader strategy" for how to deal with sectarian violence in Iraq, but the Ohio Republican said the United States should "absolutely not" talk to Iranians about the crisis.

"I can just imagine what our friends in the region, our allies will be thinking by reaching out to Iran at a time when they continue to pay for terrorists and foster terrorism not only in Syria, in Lebanon but in Israel as well," Boehner told reporters after the House GOP weekly conference meeting.

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Rep. Buck McKeon, R-California, replied sarcastically when asked if there should be any effort to discuss any response with Iran. "Talking to Iran? Well let's see, we got Russia to help us out in Syria, and now we're going to have Iran help us out in Iraq?"

"It's amazing, the way this country has gone the last couple of years is just mind boggling," said McKeon, who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "This President has just taken us right down the tubes."

Boehner sidestepped a question about whether he supported airstrikes and said it’s up to the President to lay out what to do next.

“I'm looking for the overall strategy that will help secure the gains that we have made,” said Boehner

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, also declined to give any specific suggestions for what course the administration should pursue in Iraq, but insisted, "Absolutely, positively no boots on the ground.”

Meantime, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, spoke out forcefully against sending U.S. service members into the middle of sectarian strife. “This is an Iraqi civil war and it is time for Iraqis to resolve it themselves,” he said on the Senate floor.

“It is not worth the blood of American service members. It is not worth the monetary cost to the American taxpayer. Rather than spending trillions more refighting President George W. Bush’s war, how about we use that money to build and rebuild our nation’s roads and bridges.”

Reid chastised former Vice President Dick Cheney and other critics of the administration who are encouraging greater military involvement in Iraq. But he did not rule out the use of force, saying he has “no doubt that the President will meet this threat head on, without unnecessarily risking American lives.”

McKeon argued it was Obama, not his predecessor, who is to blame for the conditions in Iraq now, telling reporters he wasn’t surprised at the conditions now. "Who got us out of Iraq without an agreement without leaving a residual force to make sure this didn't happen?"

McKeon also said he wasn’t sure the number of U.S. troops — approximately 275 - the President sent to protect the embassy in Baghdad were sufficient to guard the Americans there now.

Boehner repeated his criticism that Obama has been unresponsive to developments: "The President has been watching what we've been watching for over a year as a situation in Iraq continued to be undermined, yet nothing - nothing - has been done to try and reverse it. I'm hopeful I'll hear something today."

CNN’s Paul Courson contributed to this report


Filed under: Buck Mckeon • Harry Reid • Iraq • John Boehner • Nancy Pelosi • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Silence DoGood

    "Boehner sidestepped a question about whether he supported airstrikes and said it’s up to the President to lay out what to do next."
    -------------
    How convenient.
    After Obama decides what to do, Boehner will say that the opposite was what he should have done.

    June 18, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    McKeon argued it was Obama, not his predecessor, who is to blame for the conditions in Iraq now, telling reporters he wasn’t surprised at the conditions now. "Who got us out of Iraq without an agreement without leaving a residual force to make sure this didn't happen?"
    -------------------–
    ANSWER: President Bush signed the agreement for us to leave Iraq without leaving a residual force behind.

    June 18, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. salty dog

    Buck's got his panties in a bunch because we don't send more kids to die for a war based on lies. And uh, Buck, you should know that bush signed the pact to withdrawal, if you don't know that much, you should keep your trap shut. He's spreading lies again, its all bush's deal, not his

    June 18, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Turdgyl

    ACA is law. Hillary 1620 vote go!

    June 18, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. salty dog

    How many years later, didn't we get told it will be over in less than six months

    June 18, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    In other news, I see NBC has a "watch and rate" Bowe Berghdal hearing comment section open.

    Pathetic what our media has become.

    June 18, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    June 18, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm
    In other news, I see NBC has a “watch and rate” Bowe Berghdal hearing comment section open.

    Pathetic what our media has become.

    I've never seen anything like this before in my lifetime. The GOP with the help of the MSM is ripping the POTUS to shreds. Nothing like this happened to Bush. I guess it's true, if you scream something loud enough and long enough people will believe it.

    Godspeed President Obama. Stay safe.

    All of this negativity but nothing about the Benghazi dude. And absolutely nothing positive about the POTUS. While a war criminal rips him to shreds.

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    McKeon also said he wasn’t sure the number of U.S. troops — approximately 275 – the President sent to protect the embassy in Baghdad were sufficient to guard the Americans there now.
    --------------------–
    Now is the time to reduce the number of people from about 5000 to however many can fit on one plane. Better still, evacuate the premises. Shut it down until the situation on the ground improves. Baghdad is about to become a war zone of the most brutal kind, if stories coming out of the North are accurate.

    This civil war has been going on centuries. The conflict runs deeper than Shiite against Shia. There's also internal conflicts within both sides, the moderates against the extremists. Colin Powell once said that if you break it, then you own it. He's right. Guess who broke it, and now disowns it? Dick Cheney. The same man who didn't invade Iraq during the Persian Gulf War that kicked Saddam out of Kuwait. They knew the consequences then, that removing Saddam would destabilize the balance of power throughout the entire region.

    What happens now, and next, is on Pres. Obama's shoulders. Thanks, Dick. Putting boots on the ground only presents us with an entirely new set of even worse options than what we face now. Picking sides is the worst possible move that we could make, but the Bush administration already picked a side, the Shia. Now what?

    The rhetoric out of the House GOTP leaders would have had them labeled as "un-American" during the Bush years.

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. salty dog

    This is whet the gop will make suggestions, then blame Obama for doing what they say, and their followers eat it up . Its quite painful when you hear the absolute ignorance coming from the right, and they can't see it fox news says their right, so their right, how deflating.

    June 18, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Greg In Arkansas

    "other critics of the administration who are encouraging greater military involvement in Iraq."....
    Here is another thought if the GOP wants to go down that road:
    1. Reinstate the draft.
    2. Raise taxes and sell "War Bonds"to pay for the war.
    3. Start rationing (gas, food, etc.) in the US to insure that there are enough materials to fight a war.
    Then....go back on TV and try to "sell" more military involvement in the Middle East......didn't think so...

    June 18, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. DRAKE MALLARD

    Iran rounded up hundreds of Arabs to help the United States counter al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attack after they crossed the border from Afghanistan, a former Bush administration official said Tuesday. Many were expelled, Hillary Mann Leverett said, and the Iranians made copies of almost 300 of their passports. Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards fought alongside and advised the Afghan rebels who helped U.S. forces topple Afghanistan's Taliban regime in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the guards' former leader says.Even before U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, Iran backed the Northern Alliance, a loose coalition of warlords and militias from the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities. The alliance fought the ruling Taliban, a regime dominated by majority Pashtuns that imposed a harsh Sunni Islamic government.

    Current and former U.S. troops and officials confirm Iranians were present with the Northern Alliance as U.S. forces organized the rebels in 2001. They say U.S. forces had no interaction with the Iranians. They deny the Iranians made meaningful contributions on the battlefield.Former CIA Afghan team leader Gary Schroen says there were two Iranian guard colonels attached to a Northern Alliance commander, Bismullah Khan, outside Kabul when U.S. Special Forces arrived in September 2001.

    June 18, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Dems in PA

    The one and only option needed is for president Obama to Resign Effective Immediately.

    June 18, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. DRAKE MALLARD

    Iran helped the U.S. take on the Taliban in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Obama administration wants to see whether Iran, which has close ties to Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, will support political changes to weaken the Sunni militants threatening to split apart the country.

    June 18, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, I guess the only thing that makes the Conservatives happy is a nice, big body count. Now, has there been another mass shooting in the country the NRA can fundraise off of?

    June 18, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Randall

    The GOP is for forceful action, but they never say what that is. When President Obama asked Congress to send him an authorization to send the military to Iraq, Congress just ignored the request. By now Obama and the literate portion of the USA population know that no matter what Obama does, the GOP will complain and start an investigation. But fortunately for the GOP they have their own news network that is not hampered by the trust. The Fiction News Network, sometimes called Fox News, is not limited to the facts. It made for interesting news when you just make it up.

    June 18, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Chris-E...al

    Anyone with one brain cell LEFT should know that the leaders of Iran and the leader of america are on the same page ? Its just that Israel wil not put their existence at risk much longer ? Put that off or ignore the risk Mr 0 and see how that works out . These Iran nuke talk better work and best not be stalled or sidelined at all .

    June 18, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. rs

    Dems in PA

    The one and only option needed is for president Obama to Resign Effective Immediately.
    ________________________
    For what? Having the misfortune of having to clean up after Bush and the neocons?

    June 18, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. ProudDem

    The only good thing that might come out of this conflict is that it might help build a better relationship with Iran....and that's the one thing the GOP says don't do.....GENIUS I tell ya!

    June 18, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dems in PA says:
    June 18, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm
    The one and only option needed is for president Obama to Resign Effective Immediately.

    Don't hold your breath.

    June 18, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. RWB1956

    To Dems in PA: You mean because you say so? HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    June 18, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Tom l

    Real TP,
    I hope you have been well and I guess you have indeed missed post about just sayin or Donna, but I understand because there are a lot of posts. So when are you going to call out Ol Yeller for his incredibly offensive comments about anybody who lives in southern states where he clearly feels he is better than them and calls them inbreds? Or is that ok for him to say? How about when he compared the TEA party to nazis? Was that cool because I really wasn't aware that the TEA party murdered 10 million people? You guys are so incredibly condescending it's amazing. How about when rs called out Steny Hoyer as a republican warmonger even though he's a dem? As long as you are as hyper a partisan like you are, you will continue to look at things through your lens. The difference between the gang and me is that I can easily criticize both parties whereas you guys blindly follow the dems. No. Matter. What.

    June 18, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Mike Hunt

    You know what? Let Iran come into Iraq. The Iranians were furnishing the weapons that killed and maimed many American soldiers and Marines. Give us a chance to return the favor. Let them see how much they like having their people taken out with IED's.

    June 18, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Luc

    If the GOP want to dictate to Obama what to do in Iraq they should win an election first. Do you really think Obama is going to listen to those GOP morons. ( blow them up, drop bombs, invade invade invade as the GOP goes) Obama is far from perfect but can you imagine where the economy would be and how many more wars the GOP would of started if they were in power. God better bless America we will need it if the GOP get their way ever.

    June 18, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    McKeon argued it was Obama, not his predecessor, who is to blame for the conditions in Iraq now, telling reporters he wasn’t surprised at the conditions now. "Who got us out of Iraq without an agreement without leaving a residual force to make sure this didn't happen?"
    -------–
    ANSWER: President Bush signed the agreement for us to leave Iraq without leaving a residual force behind.

    REASON: Malaki would not agree to exempting U.S. military personnel from prosecution in Iraqi courts.

    June 18, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    It doesn't matter what this POTUS does, it will be wrong in the opinion of the GOP and the MSM.

    June 18, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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