Partial transcript from the 9/18/14 Rachel Maddow Show:
President Barack Obama: Today, our strikes against these terrorists continue. We are taking out their terrorists. We are destroying their vehicles and equipment and stockpiles, and we salute our dedicated pilots and crews, who are carrying out these missions with great courage and skill. As commander-in-chief, I could not be more proud of their service.
Rachel Maddow: President Obama making a statement just a couple of hours ago, changing up his schedule today to make those remarks, praising U.S. military pilots flying air raids in Iraq, thanking Congress as well for passing an amendment today to OK the administration’s plan to arm and train rebels fighting the Syrian government and who hopefully can be persuaded to fight ISIS, too, while they are at it.
The Senate voted for that by about 78 to 22 today. The House passed the same thing yesterday. And, tonight President Obama said thank you to Congress for that. The CIA is already training rebels in Syria, but the expanded effort that Congress just approved will start some time in the next three months or so.
And, in completely unrelated news, the United States military continues to wage a war against ISIS. Centcom today announced U.S. air strike number 176 against ISIS targets in Iraq. Congress has yet to say anything about that use of force by the U.S. military in Iraq, let alone the 1,600 American troops who have been deployed back to Iraq to take part in that fight.
Congress has not weighed in on that at all. And, then today, they left. The House announced today (surprise!) that they are calling in sick for the next two months. They were supposed to be back at work tomorrow, but they canceled that day of work tomorrow.
Then they canceled all the rest of their days at work for the rest of this month. Then they canceled all the days they were going to work next month in October. And, now they are not planning on coming back to work until after they run for election in November plus another week after that.
To be clear, they just took five weeks off for all of August and the beginning of September. Since their five-week vacation, they have worked a grand total of two four-day weeks. And, now, today they made the surprise announcement that they are giving themselves the next 54 days in a row off work. Because it is not like there is anything going on they ought to be interested in, right?
Air strikes started August 8. They have been going on for five weeks now. They are about to extend into Syria. The President announced a 40-nation coalition involved in this effort. He announced tonight that France is going to start dropping bombs in Iraq alongside our pilots who are already doing it.
There is a war under way already, which Congress has not said anything about. And, today, they decided that war will apparently continue for another two months while they go home and take two more months off work. The House announced it first, then the Senate followed suit. They are gone.
1,600 U.S. Military families have gotten the call. They have had their loved ones deployed to Iraq. They are flying those missions right now, but Congress is heading home for another seven-week break, because they cannot be bothered to think about that right now. They have got more important business to attend to. They have got to get re-elected, because that is the most important thing they do, right?
There is a reason the American public finds this Congress repellent. There is a reason why this Congress has the lowest approval ratings in the history of Congress and the spectrum of all major institutions in our country. There is a reason Congress -this Congress- repulses the people of the United States.
But, a decision like this today stretches the bounds of even the low standards of decency that they have sunk to already. Amazing.