Key Democrat concedes ground troops in Iraq may be necessary

posted at 12:31 pm on August 24, 2014 by Noah Rothman

More proof that the post-Iraq War hangover, which had become a defining feature of the Democratic Party, is beginning to lift was evident on Sunday when one key Democratic Senator, Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, conceded that the reintroduction of U.S. ground forces into Iraq may eventually become necessary if the threat ISIS poses to the American interests grows.

In his appearance on CNN, Reed was very careful not to advocate for the use of U.S. troops in Iraq. In fact, he said on two occasions that the most effective use of American military power was a careful supplementation of Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces with U.S. air power.

Reed was clear that a “specific” threat to American interests, not a general threat of terror, would be necessary before officials considered escalating American involvement in Iraq. If that threat was real and urgent, he added, “then I think we have the obligation to go in and take out that threat.”

The American political press has taken notice:

The problem with this assertion is that a justified use of U.S. ground forces to neutralize a threat to American interests has already been met, according to the Obama administration. The attempt to use Special Forces and air power to covertly free American hostages in ISIS custody met the threshold justifying the use of American forces which Reed described. That mission failed and the threat to American interests materialized in a video featuring the beheading of journalist James Foley, but that was a threat that Washington determined could not be resolved by foreign proxies.

What sort of threat would meet Reed’s requirements? One suspects that this would be a moving target. Maybe a verified and imminent threat to Western interests in the form of a terrorist attack? That sort of rock solid intelligence is tough to come by, and more often a terrorist attack only appears imminent in hindsight. What about geostrategic considerations, like the prospect that the Iraqi army may fold and Baghdad might fall? While that would be among the gravest developments in Iraq in years, Reed did not appear warm to the prospect of U.S. ground troops bailing out Iraqi authorities.

Reed seemed theoretically amenable to the prospect of a new mission in Iraq which may be characterized by ground forces, but the devil is always in the details.


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When I first saw the headline, I thought “Obama?”

My bad.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 12:36 PM

In the day of the Obama, is any opinion by any member of Congress worth anything?

albill on August 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM

ISIS is not a threat to Obama.
So what about the rest of us.
We’re 2 years away from being able to do anything.

vityas on August 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Have I mentioned how THRILLED I am that GWB took this nation to war in Iraq?

THRILLED…!!

/ihopeidontneedit

JohnGalt23 on August 24, 2014 at 12:40 PM

He’ll change his mind after the election. Like McCain and the border fence.

Kaffa on August 24, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Yeah, to retrieve every scrap of US equipment and plant nuclear bombs which will be simultaneously detonated when the last private leaves.

LawfulGood on August 24, 2014 at 12:43 PM

“Mission Accomplished”

Del Dolemonte on August 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

He’ll change his mind after the election. Like McCain and the border fence.

Kaffa on August 24, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Really??? You think Jack Reed, Sen from RI, is worried about his chances at the polls?

Seriously? I’m not even sure there is an election for Senate in RI in the fall, and if there is, I guarantee you, Reed isn’t worried about his GOP competition…

JohnGalt23 on August 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Troops on the ground are fine, but only if there is a sane plan behind it, and overall plan for VICTORY, not the masturbatory method dumbocrats usually execute wars.

Nobody wants another vietnam. Just crush the enemy into dust and leave.

Diluculo on August 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

NewsBusters

On Sunday, August 24, This Week moderator George Stephanopoulos bizarrely worried that the U.S. might take too much action in combating the terrorist group ISIS.

Speaking to Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, wondered “it struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting?”

Wipe your chin off, George!

Del Dolemonte on August 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Seriously? I’m not even sure there is an election for Senate in RI in the fall, and if there is, I guarantee you, Reed isn’t worried about his GOP competition…

JohnGalt23 on August 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Nope, Reed’s not running this year.

Del Dolemonte on August 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Remember when obozo said that iraq was the “dumb war” – good times folks, good times……………

VegasRick on August 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Playing Yo-Yo War in Iraq has to end…now! I don’t care if ISIS beheads everyone in Iraq (including any Americans)…stay out of Iraq. After watching the country (USA) turn on ‘W’ because of Iraq, I have no stomach left to watch a…a 3rd trip into Iraq!?! We have bigger threats at home, in America, so if we want war let’s have it here. USA needs a good pruning anyway…

Karmi on August 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Seriously? I’m not even sure there is an election for Senate in RI in the fall, and if there is, I guarantee you, Reed isn’t worried about his GOP competition…

JohnGalt23 on August 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Agreed. That gives him more “flexibility” espousing ideas that the dems don’t like in order to help out the party as a whole in more competitive contests.

Kaffa on August 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Reed is calling for Crusades??

faraway on August 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Playing Yo-Yo War in Iraq has to end…now! I don’t care if ISIS beheads everyone in Iraq (including any Americans)…stay out of Iraq. After watching the country (USA) turn on ‘W’ because of Iraq, I have no stomach left to watch a…a 3rd trip into Iraq!?! We have bigger threats at home, in America, so if we want war let’s have it here. USA needs a good pruning anyway…

Karmi on August 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM

There wouldn’t be a need for a 3rd trip to Iraq if we had finished the job the first time. This threat cannot be ignored. They are coming for us whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not.

Kaffa on August 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM

To heck with Iraq. Let our staunch post 9-11 allies (the Saudis) deal with it.

Ruckus_Tom on August 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

America’s first step to fight the Jihad should be to get rid of everybody in DC who aided and abetted the Jihad, which includes Obama, McCain, Hillary, Rubio, Graham, Reid and many others.

FloatingRock on August 24, 2014 at 1:03 PM

There wouldn’t be a need for a 3rd trip to Iraq if we had finished the job the first time. This threat cannot be ignored. They are coming for us whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not.

Kaffa on August 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Like…17,000 of them – WOW! By air or sea? Maybe they’ll come thru Mexico since they probably lack an Air Force and Navy. 2 strikes is enough…

Karmi on August 24, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Seems pretty clear that Obama thinks the domestic politics of it requires him to do something in re ISIS.

Worries me how he will, as usual, exploit this crisis to advance his agenda.

petefrt on August 24, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Obama wants his own 9/11

Key West Reader on August 24, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Obama wants his own 9/11

Key West Reader on August 24, 2014 at 1:08 PM

That’s true of most of the crooks in DC, that’s one of the reasons why they’ve left the border wide open all these years since 9/11.

FloatingRock on August 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

No. No. No. Not with these PC “Perfume Princes” we have running the Pentagon. I can only imagine the ROE’s: Will only issue ammo if absolutely necessary; can only lock and load with permission from the WH; can only fire back once an enemy has been unequivocally proven to be an enemy and given a chance to surrender to a lawyer from the DOJ; each squad will have a JAG lawyer attached to ensure that all questionable actions by our troops are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I could add to the list ad infinitum.

Jackson on August 24, 2014 at 1:20 PM

America’s first step to fight the Jihad should be to get rid of everybody in DC who aided and abetted the Jihad, which includes Obama, McCain, Hillary, Rubio, Graham, Reid and many others.

FloatingRock on August 24, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Including the gun running lying SOB Petraeus.

VorDaj on August 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM

No. No. No. Not with these PC “Perfume Princes” we have running the Pentagon. I can only imagine the ROE’s: Will only issue ammo if absolutely necessary; can only lock and load with permission from the WH; can only fire back once an enemy has been unequivocally proven to be an enemy and given a chance to surrender to a lawyer from the DOJ; each squad will have a JAG lawyer attached to ensure that all questionable actions by our troops are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I could add to the list ad infinitum.

Jackson on August 24, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Touching a Koran, or “The Holy Qur’an” as David Howell Petraeus calls it, with dirty infidel hands, would get 5 years of hard labor. Peeing in the direction of Meca would be punishable by 10 years hard labor.

VorDaj on August 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

VorDaj on August 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Little behind the times? He’s been gone for quite awhile.

Barred on August 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

There wouldn’t be a need for a 3rd trip to Iraq if we had finished the job the first time. This threat cannot be ignored. They are coming for us whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not.

Kaffa on August 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Regardless of the monumental screw ups of the second Iraq war, we need to kill isis. It’s not about Iraq, it’s about clipping off this terrorist organization before they become an entrenched enemy all over the globe. As much as it might upset the europeans to realize it, isis isn’t entrenched globally….yet.

We have the ability to reach them there instead of fighting them here. We WILL have to fight them here if the idiots in washington continue to bluster and do nothing, especially with a non existent southern border.

Yeah, I’ve heard the argument that the American jihadis have passports, blah blah blah, but given the choice between being identified at an airport or your enemy not even knowing you are back in the states having slithered in through mexico, which option do you think they’ll take? They can drive a damn truck full of C4 across the border right now and nobody will notice or care.

That’s our ‘patriotic’ administration for you.

Diluculo on August 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Peeing in the direction of Meca would be punishable by 10 years hard labor.

VorDaj on August 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

All my toilets face east. Sh!t on islam, and may mooohammed rest in pieces.

Diluculo on August 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

The American political press has taken notice:

Democratic @SenJackReed said this am that if there is a specific threat that demands use of ground troops, officials will have to consider

— Maeve Reston (@MaeveReston) August 24, 2014

What? Who the 7734 is that person and who elected him to position of American political press.

Dusty on August 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Little behind the times? He’s been gone for quite awhile.

Barred on August 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

He’s not gone enough yet.

VorDaj on August 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM

I pray to Golf that Obama & Co.’s typical equivocating, ear-covering and denying reality will actually work as a foreign policy for the next couple of years.

I dread the thought of these incompetents in the White House, the upper echelons of the Pentagon and the JCs prosecuting a war which actually requires we win it.

There is some small feeble chance that the next President might be able to do so, but with this one, I believe we will actually lose.

Dolce Far Niente on August 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Yeah, that’ll work. I’m sure a few more US troops in that place will turn it into a paradise.

I don’t want to see one more US soldier killed or maimed there or anywhere until we have a coherent strategy to deal with Muslims as a total group. Anything short of that is a waste of American lives.

At this point we’d be better off just sending troops to the Mexican border than getting involved over there.

WhatSlushfund on August 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Somebody must be scared.

ISIS is not a threat to Obama.

vityas on August 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM

2 words:

9/11

formwiz on August 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Now we must figure out how few troops are too few to do the job, and send them over.

PersonFromPorlock on August 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

The political driver here is that if ground troops are shown to be necessary, 6 years of obama foreign policy is proven to be feckless at best. And that is the last thing Dems want this close to an election. And if ISIS gets in and commits domestic terrorism here, obama’s border policy is likewise proven to be an anti-American disaster. The Dems are playing a very dangerous game of their own interests vs the safety of the US.

paul1149 on August 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM

** Paging Code Pink ** ** Paging Code Pink **

Please organize protests.

.

** The Main Stream Media ** ** The Main Stream Media**

Please cover Code Pink’s protests.

corkie on August 24, 2014 at 2:41 PM

start doing massive bombing at least with special forces on ground.

have time to decide on regular army

gerrym51 on August 24, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Does anyone have that active gif handy that shows Barry morphing into President George W. Bush?

slickwillie2001 on August 24, 2014 at 3:00 PM

America’s first step to fight the Jihad should be to get rid of everybody in DC who aided and abetted the Jihad, which includes Obama, McCain, Hillary, Rubio, Graham, Reid and many others.

FloatingRock on August 24, 2014 at 1:03 PM

That’s true of most of the crooks in DC, that’s one of the reasons why they’ve left the border wide open all these years since 9/11.

FloatingRock on August 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

I see. If one is pro-amnesty, one must of necessity be pro-jihadi.

/laughter

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Seems pretty clear that Obama thinks the domestic politics of it requires him to do something in re ISIS.

Worries me how he will, as usual, exploit this crisis to advance his agenda.

petefrt

Actually, he thinks the domestic politics require him to talk about it. Do something? Not so much.

No. No. No. Not with these PC “Perfume Princes” we have running the Pentagon. I can only imagine the ROE’s: Will only issue ammo if absolutely necessary; can only lock and load with permission from the WH; can only fire back once an enemy has been unequivocally proven to be an enemy and given a chance to surrender to a lawyer from the DOJ; each squad will have a JAG lawyer attached to ensure that all questionable actions by our troops are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I could add to the list ad infinitum.

Jackson

This.

I cannot stand the idea of us sending young men into danger and then tying their hands. If we send them, the plan has to be “Win,” and the ROE have to allow them to protect themselves.

Ultimately, dealing with ISIS will be the job of the next President – the concept of “Win” is entirely foreign to this one.

BD57 on August 24, 2014 at 4:45 PM

The political driver here is that if ground troops are shown to be necessary, 6 years of obama foreign policy is proven to be feckless at best. And that is the last thing Dems want this close to an election. And if ISIS gets in and commits domestic terrorism here, obama’s border policy is likewise proven to be an anti-American disaster. The Dems are playing a very dangerous game of their own interests vs the safety of the US.

paul1149 on August 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM

A+

However, as 9/11/2001 reminds us, the Democrats are hell-bent on treating terrorism not as a national security issue, but as a “law enforcement” issue, and damn the collateral casualties.

Del Dolemonte on August 24, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Like…17,000 of them – WOW! By air or sea? Maybe they’ll come thru Mexico since they probably lack an Air Force and Navy. 2 strikes is enough…

Karmi on August 24, 2014 at 1:03 PM

United, American, Delta, etc…..

All your planes are belong to us…….

BobMbx on August 24, 2014 at 5:51 PM

This is Obama leading from behind. He sent a senator out to float a balloon.

Herb on August 24, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Has ISIS beheaded any of Obama’s caddies in America? If not, Obama is not interested in a JV team.

they lie on August 24, 2014 at 8:55 PM

I see. If one is pro-amnesty, one must of necessity be pro-jihadi.

/laughter

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 3:01 PM

It’s no coincidence that, for the most part, the same cronies in DC that have aided and abetted jihadis in Libya and Syria and elsewhere are also the same ones using their own jihad as a pretext to fuel the military industrial complex and the surveillance/police-state here at home, while at the same time leaving the borders wide open and promoting amnesty, open-borders and incentives for illegals.

They’re/you’re the ones that want to have it both ways, not I. The reason for the dichotomy is that they’re all policies that keep their crony pigs feeding at the government trough and undermining Americas lower/middle class, and if their open-border do allow terrorists to strike the country again then the pig-trough will grow exponentially as they’ll “never let a crisis go to waste”.

FloatingRock on August 25, 2014 at 12:50 AM

It should be brought to the attention of the American-public that NONE of the ISIS terrorist attacks would be taking place in Iraq if Barack Obama had left the American-military in Iraq. This whole mess was started when the President abruptly pulled all of our troops out of Iraq. Somehow the American voter has installed a “Mental-Midget” into the White House. Especially in regard to the massive mistakes he has made in regard to military-decision’s. This President’s “foreign-policy” will be remembered for two things,..”Retreat and Appeasement.”

Bugdust172 on August 25, 2014 at 8:54 AM

the military industrial complex

FloatingRock on August 25, 2014 at 12:50 AM

What is this tiny, little “complex” that you speak of?

corkie on August 25, 2014 at 2:08 PM