Lawmakers present and past fanned out across the network news shows Sunday morning and offered their views about the deadly attacks in Iraq waged by Islamist militants. Here’s a roundup of some of the highlight:
Speaking on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said officials were surprised about how swiftly Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took over portions of Iraq.
‘I think it is a real wakeup call for the United States, because they (ISIS) do want to develop the caliphate,’ Feinstein told CNN’s Candy Crowley. ‘They do want to – and they now have just about destroyed the border with Syria.’
Feinstein said President Barack Obama did ‘the right thing’ when he announced last Thursday that he was sending 300 military advisers to Iraq to help advise and train Iraqi forces as they battle ISIS. White House officials also aren’t ruling out the possibility of air strikes targeting ISIS.
‘He’s being a bit circumspect. He’s being thoughtful,’ Feinstein said of Obama. ‘But I think the most important thing that I can say today is that the Iraqi state, as a state, is in danger, that there is a limited period of time, that Ayatollah Ali Sistani and his message that we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past, that this Iraqi government, has to move and develop a coterie of leaders that can quickly reach out and reconcile, or else we are in the middle of a major Sunni-Shia war.’
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also appearing on ‘State of the Union,’ said ISIS doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the United States yet.
‘It could at some point,’ Paul said. ‘I would say, right now, if you are a member of ISIS, you’re looking at the Shiites right in front of you and the battles you are fighting. I don’t believe that ISIS is right now in the middle of a battle saying ‘hmm, I think we’re going to send intercontinental ballistic missiles to America.’
Appearing on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ former Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed Paul as ‘basically an isolationist.’
‘I was a strong supporter then of going into Iraq, I’m a strong supporter now. Everybody knows what my position is,’ Cheney said. ‘Rand Paul, with all due respect, is basically an isolationist. He doesn’t believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it’s absolutely essential.’
Cheney added: ‘One of the things I worried about 12 years ago and that I worry about today is that there will be another 9/11 attack and that the next time, it’ll be with weapons far deadlier than airline tickets and box cutters.’
Cheney also repeated his criticism of Obama’s handling of Iraq and foreign policy in general, continuing a theme started in a Wall Street Journal op/ed piece he co-authored with daughter Liz Cheney last week.
‘The spread of the terrorist organizations is not recognized by the administration,’ Cheney said. ‘The proliferation of nuclear capability and the possibility that it could fall into the hands of terrorists is not really being addressed at all.’
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., appearing on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ bristled over the Cheneys Wall Street Journal op/ed assessment of Obama that ‘Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.’
‘That is sick when you really look back at the record,’ said Boxer, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member who voted against the authorization for use of force against Iraq in 2002. ‘It was Vice President Cheney and (National Security Advisor) Condi Rice working for George W. Bush and (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and all those folks – that’s just like, you know, a nightmare come back to haunt me.’