Speed Reads


Obama: 'We don't have a strategy yet' on battling ISIS in Syria

On Thursday, President Obama spoke with reporters before meeting with his top national security advisers on how to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia. Obama said that his "priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIS made in Iraq are rolled back and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself."

The fight against ISIS has to have buy-in from other countries, especially those near Syria and Iraq, Obama said, adding that defeating ISIS especially "involves all the Sunni states in the region and Sunni leadership recognizing this cancer that has developed is one that they have to be just as invested in defeating as we are."

Lots of military experts argue that the U.S. can't effectively fight ISIS unless it attacks the militia's bases in Syria, and with the U.S. starting to fly surveillance drones over Syria, a reporter asked Obama if he feels he needs Congress' approval to go into Syria. Obama said he has "consulted with Congress throughout this process," and feels he hasn't overstepped his authorities yet. Then he added:

I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet. I think what I've seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we're at than we currently are.... We need to make sure that we've got clear plans, that we're developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard. But there's no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done. [Obama]

Republican lawmakers took to Twitter to criticize Obama's "we don't have a strategy" line. (The rest of Twitter mostly discussed Obama's tan suit.)