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Monday 15 September 2014

Obama under fire for taking holiday during unrest in Iraq

David Millward

Published 11/08/2014 | 02:30

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Barack Obama boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.
US Army Soldier parachute riggers from the 11th Quartermaster Co., 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, palletize water for a humanitarian air drop at an undisclosed location. Reuters
US Army Soldier parachute riggers from the 11th Quartermaster Co., 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, palletize water for a humanitarian air drop at an undisclosed location. Reuters
Kurdish Peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in a village on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh near the border province of Dohuk.  Reuters
Kurdish Peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in a village on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh near the border province of Dohuk. Reuters

US president Barack Obama was accused of being an "absentee president" yesterday, as he began a two-week holiday after ordering air strikes on jihadists in Iraq.

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Mr Obama warned on Saturday that Iraq would be a "long-term project", and then immediately left for a two-week holiday at the Massachusetts resort of Martha's Vineyard.

Before departing Washington DC, Mr Obama told reporters that he was ready "to not have a suit on for a while".

Pictures of the president on the golf course triggered a scathing attack by Ted Cruz, the Republican senator for Texas and a standard bearer of the Tea Party right, who said he should "spend less time on the golf course and more time doing the job to which he was elected".

George W Bush was said to have given up playing golf in August 2003 after being told in the middle of a round that a lorry-bomb in Baghdad had killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN special representative, and 21 others.

He later said: "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I think playing golf during a war sends the wrong signal."

White House aides sought to deflect criticism, insisting the president would be kept fully briefed on events and he will interrupt his holiday to return to Washington DC for two days of meetings. (© Daily Telegraph)

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