09/10/2014 03:14 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2014

Dem Rep: Our Middle East Problems Go Beyond Who Controls The White House

A Democratic congressman called out conservative critics of President Barack Obama on Wednesday for oversimplifying the difficulty of resolving problems abroad.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) stressed during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that no matter who serves as president, casualties are an unfortunate part of these conflicts.

"We don't have control of what's going on on the ground in Syria, or Iraq or Libya," Sherman said at the hearing, which was focused on "Libya's Descent."

He summed up the criticism as a claim that "somehow, if we only had somebody in the White House with a different personality, then everyone in the Middle East would do what we said and we'd be in control and we'd achieve it all without any troops on the ground."

Sherman asked State Department official Gerald Feierstein if he was aware of any strategy that was capable of "the destruction of all dangerous, evil forces without substantial American casualties."

"You can give me a one-word answer," Sherman quipped.

"No, sir," Feierstein replied with a chuckle.

Sherman's remarks came amid a chorus of GOP criticism during the hearing, headed by Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). The chairman accused the Obama administration of showing "no desire to lead" on Libya.

"'Destroy all dangerous evils' is a great slogan," Sherman said. "But the real slogan for an effective foreign policy is 'managing a messy world.'"

Watch a clip from the hearing above.



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