House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, came out in support Tuesday of President Barack Obama’s decision to conduct airstrikes against ISIS militants in Syria. Boehner is the latest Republican critic of the Obama administration to laud the president after Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Saxby Chambliss also made statements backing the airstrikes, which began Monday night.
Boehner suggested that airstrikes should be just one component of Obama’s strategy in attacking ISIS, which is now known as the Islamic State group. “ISIL is a direct threat to the safety and security of the United States and our allies,” Boehner said in a statement, using an alternative name for ISIS. “I support the airstrikes launched by the president, understanding that this is just one step in what must be a larger effort to destroy and defeat this terrorist organization. I wish our men and women in uniform Godspeed as they carry out this fight.”
Senate hawk Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said he told Vice President Joe Biden that he was “very supportive” of the airstrikes, according to CNN. Graham vowed to corral Congress if further congressional authorization is needed.
Rubio, a Florida senator and a potential 2016 Republican candidate for president, also sided with Obama. "Defeating this menace to all who value freedom and tolerance will not be easy, but is essential to our security," he said.
Rubio’s comments were also echoed by Georgia's Chambliss, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who's retiring at the end of 2014. Chambliss said he spoke with Biden about the airstrikes in Syria against ISIS Monday night.
"I commend our allies in the region for stepping up and demonstrating their commitment to the fight against ISIL," he said in a statement. "I'm hopeful these strikes directed at hard targets will result in measurable progress toward degrading ISIL's capabilities and possibly even taking out ISIL fighters and leadership. As the United States moves forward with military action to defeat ISIL, we must continue to engage our allies in these efforts and work together to eliminate this dangerous cancer."
Obama’s decision to attack ISIS in Syria, which was conducted along with five Middle Eastern allies, was also welcomed by Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.
“I support President Obama’s decision to strike ISIS targets within Syria. ISIS is a global threat and a threat to our national security,” Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “It is especially significant -- indeed historic -- that these strikes involve forces from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The visible, public involvement of Arab and Muslim nations is crucial to long-term success against ISIS. While Western military force can help combat the poisonous ideology of groups such as ISIS, ultimately it is up to Muslim nations to resist and eliminate this poison."
Boxer, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she supported the airstrikes “because we cannot stand idly by while barbaric groups threaten America and the entire world.”