U.S. critics are blasting President Barack Obama's muddled message over the nature of the Islamic State (IS) threat and how the United States plans to tackle the terrorist group.
Washington frets that the IS could carve out a safe haven in the Middle East to strike the U.S. homeland, just as al-Qaeda did in Afghanistan during the lead up to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
The IS militants have in recent months overrun vast swaths of northern Iraq and are also fighting on a second front in war-ravaged Syria in a bid to establish a state there.
The Obama administration has had trouble keeping its message clear on how it will deal with the IS.
"The president's plan for IS does not inspire a great deal of confidence among Republicans, even though the Republican Party agrees with him on the need to destroy the terror group," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.
"The president's rhetoric is all over the map. Is his job to defeat IS or contain it? Or to put U.S. troops on the ground or not?" he said.