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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read
• August 22, 2014 9:00 am

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My must read of the day is "Despite ISIS Horror, Congress Is Wary of U.S. Military Expansion," in the New York Times:

For weeks, Capitol Hill has tried to keep America’s military engagement in Iraq at arm’s length: Democrats and Republicans warily backed President Obama’s limited airstrikes against Sunni militants, but nobody — aside from Senator John McCain and a few fellow hawks — demonstrated an appetite for deeper involvement.

Now, though, the gruesome execution of an American journalist, James Foley, has drawn an intensely emotional reaction from lawmakers in both parties, with many issuing statements condemning the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the group responsible for Mr. Foley’s killing, and some urging Mr. Obama to redouble the fight against it. […]

"Most Democrats and Republicans are extraordinarily wary of being sucked into a large occupation, both because it will kill a lot of Americans and because we saw in Iraq the last time that it didn’t work," said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The murder of Foley cannot be described as anything other than horrific, heartbreaking, and revolting. Lawmakers may not believe it shows ISIS as a threat that warrants an escalation in U.S. involvement, but to suggest that calls for escalation only mean massive numbers of boots on the ground or refighting "Bush's War" is disingenuous.

Lawmakers calling for more aggressive actions have been careful to say they don't want either of those things. On Sunday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger told ABC, "I understand the president doesn’t want to put troops on the ground. I don’t either. You can’t reintroduce 200,000 American troops, but I think things like special forces embedded with the Iraqi military as the Iraqi military regrows its spine to take its country back is going to be essential and important."

Comments like Schiff's are an attempt to shut down any dissenting opinion by offering a false choice: do you guys want us to do what we're doing now or launch a massive invasion and war in Iraq. Those are not the only options in terms of military action, and it does not accurately represent the calls from other lawmakers.

Published under: Iraq, Islamic State