WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that President Barack Obama has been "taking a nap" when he should be providing more help to Iraq amid the capture of key cities there by terrorists.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, the Ohio Republican said the rising instability in Iraq is jeopardizing the progress the United States made in years of fighting.
Boehner noted that terrorists have been capturing territory, including the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, the home of the late dictator Saddam Hussein.
"They're 100 miles from Baghdad," Boehner said. "And what's the president doing? Taking a nap."
Boehner said the U.S. should be providing the Iraqi government with the equipment and technical assistance it has requested, although he declined to discuss whether Washington also should agree to aerial strikes.
He said the U.S. has vital national interests at stake in Iraq and said, "The progress made there is clearly in jeopardy."
Obama has withdrawn U.S. troops from Iraq after a bloody, costly war. Boehner said that instead of celebrating that as a success, Obama should focus on "completing our mission successfully."
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked his parliament to declare a state of emergency that would give him increased powers, but the lawmakers have not done so.