Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the President’s action in Iraq:
“The rapidly evolving situation in Iraq is deeply troubling. The current situation is a product of President al-Maliki’s failure to create an inclusive government and it will only end when he makes the difficult political choices necessary to unify Iraq. If he fails in this regard, the future of Iraq will be in serious question. That is why President Obama is correct in pressuring the Iraqis to think beyond military action.
“That said, the United State maintains a significant national security interest in ensuring that ISIS does not take power in Iraq. We also should not get involved in another land war in the Middle East. We have spent enough in both lives and money. There are no easy options, but given the difficulties and what is at stake, the President’s strategy balances these vital interests, which is why I support the President’s plan to support the Iraqis with intelligence, training, and counterterrorism and operational support.
“It is important to understand that there are two separate battles taking place in Iraq: there is the political rift between the Sunnis, Shia and the Kurds and there is a foreign extremist group – ISIS – trying to take advantage of the political environment through violence. If the Iraqis can resolve their political differences, it will be far more difficult for ISIS to thrive. Moving forward, we should continue to evaluate additional steps to help combat ISIS as we see what the Iraqis are willing to do politically, but we must also firmly guard against mission creep.”