Former vice-president Dick Cheney met behind closed doors with Republican members of Congress on Tuesday to urge them to adopt a more muscular military posture in the Middle East.
The private meeting came as leading Republican hawks are clamouring for a ramped-up confrontation with the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, with some openly discussing the redeployment of ground troops in Iraq.
Cheney did not address the specifics of any military involvement in the Middle East, according to several people present at the meeting, which took place in the Capitol Hill Club and was open to all House Republicans.
But he decried what Republicans perceive to be president Barack Obama’s “weakness”, said legislators should boost military spending and provided a neo-conservative analysis of the conflict embroiling the Middle East.
One source who was in the room told the Guardian that Cheney’s remarks were “tantamount to a pep talk” before Obama’s address to the nation on Wednesday, in which the president will unveil the administration’s plan for tackling Isis, which has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria.