McKeon won’t support ‘one-shot strike’ in Iraq

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Friday he would not support a “one-shot strike” against al Qaeda-linked rebels in Iraq, saying there was no "quick fix" to the crisis.

"The White House has a history of 'considering all options' while choosing none," said Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in a statement. "There are no quick fix solutions to this crisis and I will not support a one shot strike that looks good for the cameras but has no enduring effect.”

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McKeon’s statement comes as pressure grows on the Obama administration to take action to help the Iraqi government after Islamist militants seized control of a broad swath of the country, including large cities.

On Friday, President Obama said that he would make a decision in the “days ahead” but ruled out sending U.S. ground troops back into Iraq.

A senior official said Thursday the president was actively considering American airstrikes to target the rebel group in Iraq, as one of several options. A report in The New York Times said the Iraqi government had requested such strikes but had been rebuffed initially.

In his statement, McKeon blasted the administration’s Middle East policies, saying the president had allowed terror groups to re-establish a foothold in the region.

"Our vacillation and inaction in Syria, abandonment of Iraq, politically driven withdrawal from Afghanistan, and senseless cuts to national security resources has allowed the resurrection of a transnational terrorist threat,” he said. 

McKeon called for a new strategy in Iraq and the Middle East, "adequate resourcing" for national security, as well as "renewed American leadership." 

"The President should also ask himself if his White House National Security team is equal to the crisis at hand,” he said. “I don’t believe they are."

McKeon also said he was concerned about the thousands of Americans working in Iraq and said Obama must make their safety his first concern. 

CNN reported on Friday that the USS George H.W. Bush carrier strike group, currently in the North Arabian Sea, would be heading to the Arabian Gulf to prepare for possible airstrikes. 

The Marine Corps's 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, a crisis response force, is also stationed in the region, and is prepared to rescue Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad if needed.