mostlycloudy
Friday May 29th, 2015 4:30PM

Foley's death isn't changing views in Congress

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For all its horror, the beheading of an American journalist in Syria appears unlikely to change lawmakers' minds about military intervention against Islamic State extremists. It's equally unclear whether the Obama administration will be asking them to back a new U.S. approach.<br /> <br /> President Barack Obama said the United States wouldn't scale back its military posture in Iraq in response to James Foley's killing. But he offered no specifics Wednesday about what new steps he might take to protect additional captives and other Americans, and ward off what he described as the al-Qaida offshoot's genocidal ambitions.<br /> <br /> The initial response from members of Congress was mixed, reflecting the divide of the American people. While all decried Foley's death, hawks, particularly Republicans, continued to assail the Obama administration's limited airstrikes in Iraq and its refusal to target Islamic State bases in neighboring Syria. The president's supporters voiced support for the current, cautious intervention in Iraq. No tea partiers or dovish Democrats who have cautioned against military action publicly changed position.<br /> <br /> "The president's rhetoric was excellent, but he didn't outline steps to stop the slaughter," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of Obama's harshest foreign policy critics, said in a telephone interview. "The strategy should be to launch all-out air attacks in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL," he said, using an alternative acronym for the Sunni militants.<br /> <br /> Philip Balboni, CEO of the Boston-based GlobalPost, told reporters Wednesday the company had spent millions on efforts to bring Foley home, including hiring an international security firm. Foley was doing freelance reporting for GlobalPost.<br /> <br /> When asked at a news conference about a ransom purportedly demanded by the kidnappers, Balboni said the price tag involved both financial and political demands, and that it was "substantial" and always remained the same.<br /> <br /> He declined to elaborate.<br /> <br /> Balboni did say that he understood there were "good reasons" why the U.S. government does not acquiesce to kidnappers' ransom demands, but said the policy should be revisited. He also said the family had received a "direct contact" from Foley passed through a recently released European hostage. But he declined to say what the message said.<br /> <br /> Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the matter.<br /> <br /> "Those who would perpetrate such acts need to understand something," Holder said. "We have long memories and our reach is very wide and we will not forget what happened. People will be held accountable one way or another."<br /> <br /> Interrupting his family vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama denounced the Islamic State as a "cancer" threatening the entire Middle East. And military planners weighed the possibility of sending a small number of additional U.S. troops to Baghdad. Still, Obama was vague about what more his administration would do, saying the U.S. will stand with others to "act against" the extremists.<br /> <br /> "We will be vigilant and we will be relentless," he said. "When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done."<br /> <br /> That message was clearly inadequate for McCain, the Republican candidate Obama defeated for the presidency in 2008. The Arizona senator, who has clamored for years for U.S. action against government forces and extremists in Syria, said the Islamic State has "erased the boundaries between Syria and Iraq, and we must treat it the same way." Otherwise, he said, the militants will enjoy a sanctuary in Syria where they can regroup and create more chaos.<br /> <br /> Other Republicans echoed that message. "The Iraqis have already demonstrated that they cannot stop them on their own," said Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a House Intelligence Committee member and former Army officer. "The president's current path of action has been far too limited to make a difference."<br /> <br /> Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said the U.S. must aggressively arm the Islamic State's opponents. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called Obama's approach "piecemeal."<br /> <br /> Some Democrats, too, pushed for expanding U.S. military action into Syria. "Otherwise, they will continue to threaten Americans and the interests of our country," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.<br /> <br /> Others, however, expressed caution and said the president was reacting appropriately.<br /> <br /> Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and House Intelligence Committee member, said the administration has to be on guard against mission creep after launching operations to protect Americans and provide humanitarian relief. The reasons have since expanded to guarding Iraqi infrastructure and solidifying Iraq's new government, he said.<br /> <br /> "The mission already crept a bit," Schiff said in a telephone interview. "The administration would be wise to not get sucked in. That's going to be very hard."<br /> <br /> He said Foley's death "brings home in the most horrifically graphic terms what a scourge" the Islamic State is, but it doesn't provide a broader lesson for U.S. policy.<br /> <br /> "If they have time to consolidate their gains, they will attack us. If we take the fight to them, they will attack us," Schiff said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 4 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 4 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 4 months ago )
Politics
Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.
5:08PM ( 23 hours ago )
Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 21
HOUSTON (AP) — Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 21 people dead and 11 ot...
11:09PM ( 1 day ago )
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 6 days ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )