Senate Democrats teetered Friday between cautiously supporting and cautiously criticizing President Obama’s airstrikes and humanitarian drops in Iraq.
But Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) warned that just a slap at ISIS won’t be enough.
“I strongly support the president’s authorization for airstrikes against ISIL. This is not a typical terrorist organization—it is a terrorist army, operating with military expertise, advancing across Iraq and rapidly consolidating its position,” Feinstein said in a statement today.
“ISIL is capturing new Iraqi towns every day, is reported to be in control of Mosul Dam and is engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing that appears to be attempted genocide. I believe that once this group solidifies its hold on what it calls the Islamic State, its next target may be Baghdad,” she continued. “It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries, training them to fight its battles in the Middle East and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard. We simply cannot allow this to happen.”
“It takes an army to defeat an army, and I believe that we either confront ISIL now or we will be forced to deal with an even stronger enemy in the future. Inaction is no longer an option. I support actions by the administration to coordinate efforts with Iraq and other allies to use our military strength and targeting expertise to the fullest extent possible.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), however, stressed that he opposes “open-ended military commitments, which the President’s actions in Iraq could become.”
“Humanitarian relief is necessary to prevent genocide and provide food and water to meet an urgent emergency, but the president owes the American people a better, fuller explanation of the scope and strategy of military actions,” continued the senator, who sits on the Armed Services Committee. “I am deeply concerned that these actions could lead to prolonged direct military involvement, which I would strongly oppose. As a condition for any military aid in Iraq, I have said that there must be a new government that is inclusive and unifying.”
“I continue to believe that the current situation in Iraq is a failure of Iraq’s leaders, who have used the security forces – with training and equipment we provided – for their own sectarian ends, rather than uniting their country. It is also a consequence of the failure of the international community to contain the ongoing civil war in Syria.”