WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the United States is prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq, and that the U.S. will not be returning to a combat role there.
“Ultimately this is something that is going to have to be solved by the Iraqis,” Obama said.
Obama is facing pressure to help the Iraqi government fight an advance toward Baghdad by Sunni fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also referred to as ISIS.
Following a meeting with his national security team, Obama said his plan to deal with rising violence includes intelligence efforts and increased support for Iraqi security forces – more military advisers, but not more ground troops.
“There’s no stomach in this country to send Americans troops into Iraq, we did that 10 years ago, it frankly did not work,” said Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D). “All the pain and suffering and sacrifice of so many of those men and women, our policy leaders betrayed them.”
Brown said he thinks the U.S. should be focused on diplomacy, working with European allies and even countries like Russia, who also have strategic interests in the region.
“It’s working out details and strategies that can obviously help us deal with those very dangerous places around the world,” Brown said.
Michigan Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller, who sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, says she doesn’t believe sending troops back to Iraq is the solution, either – and she’s even leery about air strikes.
She blames the current situation on the Iraqi government.
“The Maliki government has not been an inclusive government; it’s really led to what is happening today, which is really a sectarian civil war, really,” Miller said.
Miller paints a tough picture of what’s happening in Iraq, calling the situation terrible, and saying the U.S. should instead focus on protecting the U.S. homeland, and its interests.
“Unfortunately they seem to want to just want to kill each other and I’m not sure we can ever stop them,” Miller said. “They’ve been wanting to kill one another, they’ve been doing it century after century.”