By Zachary Toillion
Before the August recess President Obama invited a number of lawmakers to the White House to discuss the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Among the group of lawmakers was Sen. Bob Corker. He questioned and criticized a number of Obama’s foreign policy decisions concerning ISIS, Syria and Russia.
Obama became agitated according to a number of lawmakers present as he vigorously defended his recent foreign policy decisions. Later in the conversation Obama dismissed criticism of not arming Syrian rebels earlier as “horses**it.” White House officials confirmed the exchange between Corker and Obama had taken place but refused to comment on Obama’s choice of words.
Days after the confrontation Corker penned an op-ed in the Washington Post describing his criticism, “Today, after three years of bold rhetoric divorced from reality, 170,000 Syrians are dead and we are not innocent bystanders. The president encouraged the opposition to swallow deadly risks, then left them mostly hanging. Extremist groups from Syria have surged into Iraq seizing key territory and resources and are threatening to completely undo the progress of years of U.S. sacrifice.”
Corker’s criticisms mirror comments made by Hillary Clinton who recently stated her policy preference was to arm Syrian rebels in Spring of 2012. Clinton claims the Obama administration would not allow the State Department to begin talks with moderate elements of the Syrian rebels. Sec. Clinton, CIA chief David Petraeus and Defense Sec. Leon Panetta all advocated for arming Syrian rebels according to high ranking officials in the Obama administration.
Sen. Corker’s criticism come on the heels of a series of airstrikes in Iraq on the terrorist group ISIS. The strikes themselves have led to a new question. Should the US continue it’s primarily humanitarian operations or should the US be focused on eliminating ISIS altogether?