On Wednesday, Barack Obama met with leaders of the House and Senate to brief them on the situation in Iraq. He also informed them he does not believe he needs their permission to use the military in Iraq, if that's what he decides to do, Roll Call reported.
We had a good discussion,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the meeting. “The president basically just briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us for the steps that he might take and indicated he would keep us posted.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed that Obama has all the authority he needs to take whatever unilateral action he desires.
“All of the authorities are there," she said "That doesn’t mean I want all of them to be used, especially boots on the ground.”
“But I definitely think the president has all of the authority he needs by dint of legislation that was passed in 2001 and 2003,” she added, apparently referring to the authorizations to use military force passed by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and the 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq.
"Neither of those authorizations have expired," Roll Call said, even though the official White House position is that the Iraq authorization should be repealed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called it a “a good meeting,” telling reporters that "everybody seemed satisfied."
“The president is going to keep us as informed as he can as the process moves forward,” he added, declining to comment further, calling the gathering a "private meeting."
Roll Call said the White House issued a "readout" of the meeting that mentioned "possible increase security assistance" to Iraq, but military strikes were not mentioned. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the administration would "cross that bridge when we come to it, if we come to it," when asked about Congressional authorization.
Translation: The president doesn't know what he's going to do about Iraq even as city after city falls to the black-clad ISIS jihadis, some of whom may have received training from the United States. If Obama decides to toss a drone or two at the insurgents, he'll bypass Congress as usual to do it.
But by the time Obama decides to do something, it may be too late.
In an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney summed up the situation this way: "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
"On a trip to the Middle East this spring, we heard a constant refrain in capitals from the Persian Gulf to Israel, 'Can you please explain what your president is doing?' 'Why is he walking away?' 'Why is he so blithely sacrificing the hard fought gains you secured in Iraq?' 'Why is he abandoning your friends?' 'Why is he doing deals with your enemies?'" they wrote.
Good questions, all of which demand a good answer. Last Thursday, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said Obama is handing Iraq and Afghanistan back to radical Islamists for one reason -- to discredit George W. Bush while advancing the Democratic Party.
"Whether George Bush was your enemy or not politically, he was a former president and it was the policy of this country to save Iraq and potentially establish a democratic beachhead there," Limbaugh said. "It was a long shot, but that was the policy of the country. And in no way does Obama share that at all. So it's not about maintaining American consistency. It's not about showing allies we could be counted on. It's not about helping people in need. It's about advancing the Democrat agenda. And this is where it takes courage to admit this, and particularly say so publicly on a microphone broadcasting to tens of millions of people, like I'm doing right now."
Now, thanks to Obama's actions, Iraq is close to being overrun by ISIS.