Could Hillary Clinton Have Prevented the Crisis in Iraq?
Policy + Politics

Could Hillary Clinton Have Prevented the Crisis in Iraq?

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under fire from Republicans Sunday for her failure to recognize the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a threat during her tenure.

“This administration has repeatedly underestimated the threat," former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press. Romney called Clinton’s time a State a “monumental bust."

“The playbook, I believe, is to look at her record," Romney said. "Consider what’s happened around the world when she was Secretary of State.”

Related: How the Collapse of Iraq Would Affect America

Romney’s attack comes as Clinton’s presumed 2016 presidential campaign revs up as the former First Lady promotes a new book. On Friday, Clinton sided with the White House, saying that the American military should not get involved, and that the problems in Iraq are political.

At George Washington University on Friday, Clinton called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government “dysfunctional, unrepresentative, authoritarian” and said “there's no reason on earth that I know of that we would ever sacrifice a single American life for that."

The new line of attack on Clinton joins a long list of foreign policy failures alleged by the GOP, most notably the failure to respond to an attack on a 2012 American outpost in Libya that led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. It also comes as Republicans suggest avenues to calm the Iraq situation that were previously unthinkable within the GOP.

For instance, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a long-time proponent of talks with Iran, said that only way to calm the Sunni-Shiite clash in Iraq was to involve Tehran.

Related: The Need for U.S. Special Forces in Iraq

“We should have discussions with Iran to make sure they don't use this as an opportunity to seize control of parts of Iraq," Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union…. They're in this. They're already on the ground. We need to put a red line with Iran."

This prompted Dana Bash, one of Graham’s interviewers, to ask him to repeat himself. "I'm sorry, it's sort of hard for me to believe that I'm hearing a Republican say, 'Sit down and talk with Iran,'" she said.

“Do you realize what's happening?" Graham said in response. "If Baghdad falls and the central government collapses in Iraq, the Iranians are the biggest winner. We're the biggest loser."

“We should be the ones who save Baghdad so the central government can survive," Graham added. "But to ignore Iran and not tell them, 'Don't take advantage of this situation' would be a mistake."

Graham and other Republicans also attacked the president for his failure to take decisive action to stop the ISIS advance.

“Stubborn-headed, delusional, detached president,” Graham said. “But that's the last bad thing I'm going to say. Mr. President, a lot of people want to help you, because we're in it together. The number of people that could die in this country from getting this wrong is going to be far greater than 4,000, because they're getting weapons they didn't have before.”

“We need to stop this. But the action needs to be now, not two weeks down the road,” Rep. Michael McCaul, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “The president should come back to the White House, get a team of experts together.”

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