Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - While al-Qaeda renegade armies were seizing Iraqi territory over the weekend and closing in on Baghdad, President Obama was jetting into Palm Springs, Calif. for 18 holes of golf.

The blood-soaked, terrorist rampage across Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was drawing close enough to the Iraqi capital to force the administration to begin withdrawing some of our U.S. embassy staff there.

While Obama was lining up his shot on the green, our country was in a full blown, foreign policy-national security crisis, one of many that confronts his failed presidency.

Russian tanks, ordered by Vladimir Putin, were rolling across Ukraine, further threatening that shaky democratic nation, while pro-Russian separatists were shooting down a Ukraine military transport, killing all 49 soldiers onboard.

At the same time, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who never paid a price for using poison gas on his own people, continues to bomb civilian populations with impunity, as the administration looks the other way.

Meanwhile, Obama was in Rancho Mirage playing a round of golf Saturday at Sunnylands, the well-manicured former estate of media tycoon Walter Annenberg.

Then, on Sunday, he was on the links again at the vast estate owned by multi-billionaire Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle.

Earlier in the weekend, he had some party business to attend to, appearing at a political fundraiser in Laguna Beach, Calif. Fundraising comes first when polls show that the Democrats may lose control of the Senate this fall.

White House officials said the president was being kept fully apprised of events abroad, while his national security advisers were struggling to come up with a plan on how to respond to the fierce offensive in Iraq.

But by the weekend, two things were clear -- there was deep division in the White House over how to deal with the crisis, and Obama was taking his sweet time, hoping the situation would resolve itself without any intervention on his part.

In a justifiably war-weary America, few of us want to send troops back into Iraq, though many want the U.S. to offer Iraq's government some assistance to help it repulse the terrorist onslaught.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.