On Thursday morning, House Speaker John Boehner bashed President Obama for not playing a bigger role in Iraq’s battle against al-Qaeda militants. While Boehner didn’t propose sending troops back into the country, he did say that the U.S. should be providing more equipment and training to the Iraqi government in order help it reclaim Fallujah and Ramadi, two cities that have fallen under the control of al-Qaeda.
"I think the president himself ought to take a more active role in dealing with the issues in Iraq," Boehner said at his weekly news conference. "Secondly, we need to get equipment to the Iraqis and other services that would help them battle this counterterrorism effort that they're attempting to do.
"There are things that we can do to help the Iraqis that do not involve putting U.S. troops on the ground.”
For months, a plan to sell Apache helicopters and other material aid to the Iraqi government has been held up in the Senate by Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and New Jersey senator. Menendez has cited concerns that the weapons could be used in internal crackdowns rather than in legitimate national security efforts.
Menendez also demanded that Iraq exert tighter control over its airspace, as reports have surfaced that Iran has shipped weapons to the Syrian regime over Iraqi land.
After nine years of war, the last American troops were withdrawn from Iraq at the end of 2011. When asked directly whether the U.S. should should send more troops to Iraq, Boehner said he doesn’t believe “that is called for at this point in time.”
The White House swiftly hit back. “I know that Speaker Boehner opposed candidate Obama’s promise to end the war in Iraq,” said press secretary Jay Carney. “The president made a commitment to the end the war in Iraq. He fulfilled that commitment."