Most Democratic officeholders who have sought out the press to register their dissatisfaction with Obama’s approach to the situation in Iraq and Syria, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) most notably, expressed their concern that Obama is going too far.
The president’s administration, which had floated the proposition of mounting airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, would be inviting more problems than he would solve, they reasoned. If the White House was determined to strike in Syria, he should come to Congress to seek their authorization.
Not every Democrat is urging the president to adopt a dovish position on the ISIS threat. Appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that Obama, a cautious figure on all matters foreign, is being “too cautious” in this case
“I think I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious. Maybe in this instance, too cautious,” Feinstein said. “And so hopefully, those plans will coalesce into a strategy that can encourage that coalition from Arab nations.”
“I know that the military, I know that the state department, I know that others have been putting plans together,” she added, in a direct rebuke of Obama’s insistence that his administration does not “have a strategy yet” to roll back ISIS in Syria.
Her subtle savaging of the president went a step further. When asked if ISIS is, as Obama said in January, al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” Feinstein flatly disagreed. “I think it’s a major varsity team, if you want to use those kinds of monikers. But I see nothing that compares with its viciousness,” she noted.
She noted that this is the first group with the funding, training, and expertise to present a global military threat as well as an international terror threat.
“I mean, they crossed the border into Iraq before we even knew it happened,” Feinstein added, contradicting a series of administration officials who have insisted that they watched the ISIS group’s activities in western Syrian and Iraq closely and with great anxiety for over a year. “So this is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous. And they’ll kill with abandon.”
This was a pretty heavy volley of shot across the White House’s bow. No one in the West Wing is happy with DiFi this morning, but she is only one name on the president’s mounting list of critics.