House Republican Leader Defends Obama’s Comments Regarding Military Strategy In Syria

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During Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the Deputy Majority Whip in the House, spoke with host Chuck Todd regarding President Obama’s comments during a Thursday press conference where he said that there isn’t a strategy yet when it comes to bombing ISIS in Syria. Republicans and conservative pundits, especially neo-cons, jumped all over that comment to portray the President as unprepared and incapable to lead in regards to issues within the Middle East. Todd was likely preparing for Cole to climb aboard the criticism train and slam Obama on his comments.

However, something strange happened. Cole actually commended POTUS for the restraint he has shown so far and pointed out that the United States should not be looking to engage itself in a civil war in Syria that is being fought on at least three different fronts. Per Cole, the President only has so much latitude under the War Powers Act to act alone. After that, he must go to Congress and make the case for further action, especially when it comes to sending forces into another country. As of now, besides the limited air strikes in Iraq and humanitarian aid, the President has authorized air surveillance of ISIS in Syria. Beyond that, Obama has pointed out that there is no additional strategy when it comes to dealing with ISIS within Syria.

Below is video of Cole talking to Todd, courtesy of MSNBC:



Todd first asked how important a role Congress is to this situation. Cole said that Congress is central to any action moving forward and pointed out that the President should not be engaging in military action that goes beyond the War Powers Act. He then said the following:

“It’s important for the world to understand that when we deploy force, we’re doing it as a country and not in a partisan manner, that we genuinely are united. I think the elements of a strategy are there. Look, the president has made it clear, and I think appropriate, that we’re talking about air strikes at some point, we’re talking about special operators, we’re talking about aid and training for people on the ground, and we’re talking about alliances in the region, which I think are going to be not easy to construct but pretty doable, since nobody on the ground, even our enemies, don’t like ISIL.”

After that, Todd wanted to know what happens if Congress authorizes limited air strikes in Syria. Basically, Todd wanted to know if this leads to a full military engagement in Syria. Cole said he doesn’t think that should be the case and gave President Obama credit for being “commendably cautious” when it comes to Syria.

“I think our main goal is ISIL. I don’t know that we have a, quote, ‘responsibility’ in Syria after that. And I think the president is being commendably cautious about being involved in the middle of a Syrian civil war. I understand that at the minimum it is a three-sided conflict and a probably a lot more than that. So again, I think moving in unilaterally to go after anything other than ISIL is probably not a very good idea. And moving unilaterally is not a good idea at all.”

Now, let’s be clear here. Cole is no ally of the President. He has publicly criticized POTUS a number of times over the past few years. Like any House Republican, he has engaged in childish taunting and has tossed his fair share of hyperbolic criticism at the White House. However, like many other Republicans in Washington, he knows that warfare is not something to be treated lightly. While you have John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mike Rogers and the other neo-cons in Washington beating the war drums, followed up by other Republicans and pundits who are just using international crises to hammer the President, there is a contingent of lawmakers on the right who know that we not only need to be cautious, but whatever action is taken must be from a politically united front.

Of course, that isn’t going to appeal to those who are sending out idiotic tweets using #WeDontHaveAStrategyYet. Then again, the only thing that appeals to them is anything they think makes the President look bad.

17 Replies to “House Republican Leader Defends Obama’s Comments Regarding Military Strategy In Syria”

  1. President Obama’s job is not to seek accolades from the GOPT. It is to use the information he has available, and good judgment together in consultation with our defense specialists in order to address the situation with as little life loss as possible. I believe he is doing this. I trust his judgment.

    The GOP is old and worn out with their latching onto any phrase that the President utters, and using it against him. By now, we know our President is doing the best for our country. We don’t need the GOP approval and neither does POTUS. They are the peanut gallery when they are immature enough to latch on to catch phrases.

    When they come up with sane ideas and thoughtful considerations, then maybe..just maybe, they will matter.

  2. Those Republican Ne0-Cons are a wicked bunch, I think I know what they are up to: Goad the President into commiting BIG time into Syria and Iraq (again) then sit back and watch a whole lot of stuff go awry. They want to see Obama tumble into a messy situation, then say You see he has gotten us into a mess with no end in sight and no exit strategy. We could not stop those barbarians (ISIL) from the air, but now he got us with boots on the ground—He messed up. And by the way, we didn’t tell him to go for broke. YES YOU DID! This is exactly how they plan it. Let Obama commit and fail (possibly). But I think that whatever strategy Obama and his wise thinkers in the Pentagon and State it will WORK. The neo-cons may not like it and not give the President the backup he needs. Obama, dayuum if he does and dayuuum if he don’t with those guys. Disgraceful! And sick!

  3. Wow. It`s refreshing to know there is ONE Republican still alive that has common sense left and is in touch with reality. He must be on the endangered spices list.

  4. Somedays I think I read an article and my jaw just drops, today is one of those days, Rep
    Peter King says it is a disgrace that Obama
    spoke at the press conference in a tan suit, he went on to rant and said – especially when he was speaking about terrorism which is very serious. Apparently he had quite a rant.
    I think they are all mentally ill.

  5. Republicans think they are scoring points by their endless criticism of everything President Obama does, but I think it is all going to come back and bite them in the a**. There is nothing at all constructive coming from most on the right. Constant negativity and pessimism are not going to get them anywhere in the long run. It may work on their die-hard base, but many in America are growing weary of the constant whining without solutions.

  6. Terry, so right. Although, whining I can put up with, I am a mother, of course I can tune it out! What I am totally sick to death over is the HATE from the right.

    Racism is a sickness. I would like to see the tables turned on these people and see how they would react. Racism is not ignorance, it is HATE, unwarranted hate. I have had it up to eyeballs with it. The racism in this country is disgusting.

  7. Fighting the forces of darkness in Iraq

    The Anbar province has been combating terrorism for a long time and this fight has taken it on a journey of contemplation
    Anbar has been fighting terrorism for a long time. This fight has taken it on a journey of searching and contemplation. People of Anbar have come to realise that, for them to defeat terrorists, they must first overcome the conflicts and fears within themselves and open their hearts and minds to others…

    …Iraqis have the right to live in peace. The young people have the right to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer. And they have a responsibility to give them hope that will empower them to live life to the fullest, to reach out to their counterparts in other nations and to turn away from death and extremism.

  8. Species lol. I remember the first time I heard Tom Cole speak I knew this was a man of integrity and rationality. I wish I lived in his state so I could vote for him, and I have NEVER voted for a Republican.

  9. Other than this brief moment, Tom Cole isn’t exactly “sane.” He’s just as terrible as the rest of the GOPTP.

  10. You’re right, he’s against gay marriage, wants to destroy Social Security, against raising taxes on the wealthy, against a woman’s choice, against regulation of greenhouse gases, against ….well you get the picture.

  11. All GOP hill-billies are the same incl. Tom Cole. At this point in time VP Biden said it best. “Don’t tell me what you about, show me, and I’ll tell you what you about.”

    Cole was all happy talk abt the 2013 CR bill & voting for it but when it came time to vote, surprise surprise. Their was no daylight btw his vote & the GOP hill-billies.

    End result: S/D cost $25 BILLION in taxpayer lost, -2.3% GDP & lost in job growth.. And that goes for R Paul, P Ryan, P King & anybody else msm deem as moderate.

    If ppl truly are tired of being spit upon, treated 3rd class citizen need to GOTV 2014. Evil don’t take holiday, it just weight heavy on you until you give in. We the ppl have to show them their s!@# don’t stink. That our voices does matter. I voted for this Pres. & I stand w/ this Pres. 100%.

  12. So Cole is not a warmonger, that’s great. Plenty of those running their mouth on the TV. Idiots, all of them. They have a big problem, Obama is not a warmonger. He understands that the civil war in Syria and Iraq is not our war.

  13. As usual the stupid rears its head when a teabagger Peter King speaks
    “For him to walk out — I’m not trying to be trivial here — in a light suit, a light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about, and he said that’s the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy,” King continued, operating at Peak Peter King. “This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded, and he’s trying to act like, you know, real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say that he has no strategy.”

    Oh Really I seem to remember you wearing a tan suit when you held news conferences with the IRA. A terrorist group
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  14. This is why you don’t do so something stupid like invading Iraq with no plan Are you listening baggers?

    Syria’s violence prompts worst humanitarian crisis in a century

    IRBIL, Iraq — Nearly half of Syria’s population has been displaced either internally or externally as refugees in the worst humanitarian crisis to strike the Middle East in at least a century, according to new data released by the International Rescue Committee.

    Read more here:

  15. Well I suppose the neocons didn’t get erect enough the first two times the US bombed Iraq back to the stone age. Three times a charm I reckon is their frame of mind on that matter.

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