by Mitch Perry
On CNN's State of the Union on Sunday morning, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham appeared to shock his interlocutors when he said that "we need to coordinate with the Iranians" on Iraq. He made the comments when asked what President Obama should do to fight against the Sunni insurgency that exploded this week and now threatens the Shiite Muslims government of Iraq led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. On Saturday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged to help out as well if the U.S. would commit to "confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq."
Per his buddy John McCain, Graham was lacerating in his criticism of President Obama's foreign policy, calling the president a "stubborn-headed, delusional, detached president" about Iraq and adding "he needs to change his policies quickly. If he does, we can still save this." If not, Graham indicated the consequences could be worse than 9/11 for Americans.
Equally apocalyptic in his predictions was House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), who has become ubiquitous on the Sunday morning chat shows in the past few years (but that will end as soon as he leaves Congress to go into talk-radio). On Fox News Sunday, Rogers said that the inclusion of the ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) into the equation no longer makes this Sunni vs. Shia, with the U.S. having to choose a side. He says not every Sunni has joined al Qaeda, but that the ISIS makes this "an al Qaeda problem."
"This is an Al Qaeda-inspired group that certainly has al Qaeda ties, that now has the capability to tap people with Western passports to send them back to Europe and the United States for terrorist activity. That's a problem for us," Rogers said.
But Rogers doesn't believe working with Iran will be worthwhile. "I think it's a mistake. It would mean really a failure of U.S. leadership if we can't put the Arab League together to fight this problem that they know is in their best interests and the U.S. best interest to quell this Al Qaeda rising army."
And Rogers said it would take "a military campaign" to reverse the situation in Iraq. When asked how long it might take, "I don't think you can put a time line on it. It depends on how effective we are, depends how effective we can make our Arab League partners in this fight. But here is the other challenge. We neglected Syria for three years, said not our fight, don't worry about it. We watched pooling of al Qaeda in a way we've never seen before."
Meanwhile President Obama was in Palm Springs on Sunday observing Fathers Day. On Friday the president said ground troops would not be returning to Iraq anytime soon, but did says that the U.S. would "do its part." He also said that the planning for any type of American action "is going to take several days," and "people should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight."