The White House on Sunday defended its approach to the Syrian conflict as Republicans launched fresh accusations that the Obama administration is doing too little and has moved too slowly to aid rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.
“We have to be very discerning about what’s in our interest and what outcome is best for us, and the prices that we’re willing to pay to get to that place,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
“We’ve rushed to war in this region in the past. We’re not going to do it here,” he added, an apparent reference to the war in Iraq launched by the George W. Bush administration.
The White House announced last week that it would provide military aid to Syrian rebels, and according to news accounts it’s likely to consist of small arms and ammunition.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a leading GOP critic of White House foreign policy, said on NBC Sunday that greater intervention – a no-fly zone – would be needed.
“I think our goal should be to balance the military power,” he said. “We need to create a no-fly zone.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), appearing on ABC News, criticized the White House’s policy on Syria, alleging Obama waited too long to act.
“Timing matters and these were options that were there for us a year-and-a-half ago,” said Rubio on ABC’s “This Week.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the White House lacks a clear vision for addressing the Syrian crisis, which he called “catastrophic” and worsening by the day.
“The administration needs to come up to Congress and make a comprehensive case. What is the plan? Where are we going on Syria? And what do you want to accomplish? Some of the things that they have told the Intelligence Committee in the past doesn’t comport with that they are presenting as the direction they want to go,” Rogers said on the same CBS program where McDonough appeared.
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