Louisiana delegation weighs in on Iraq crisis

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 17 at 5:58 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Fears of committing American troops to another quagmire in the Middle East loom large in Congress.

Twelve years ago, lawmakers voted to authorize the use military force in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein and destroy his weapons of mass destruction.

There now appears to be a greater reluctance to sending ground forces to turn back the insurgents, now threatening Baghdad and the U.S. backed government in Iraq.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should proceed with caution.

"Looking forward, I think we need to help Iraq though intelligence capabilities, through planning capabilities, so that the terrorists don't take over the whole country," Vitter said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., declined to say if she supported military action.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., said, "Based on the information we have now, there is no need to place American troops in harm's way on the ground in Iraq. However, the United States should provide limited, strategic support to the Iraqi government as they combat the threat ISIS poses to Iraq and the stability of the region. We must remain mindful that this conflict will not be solved by military might alone. The Iraqi leadership must also do what needs to be done to foster a more inclusive government. This is the only sure way to any lasting peace and prosperity for the country."

Vitter said the Obama administration's policy in Iraq contributed to the country's instability.

"The situation in Iraq is horrible and getting worse by the hour," said Vitter. "I think the biggest reason, quite frankly, is that President Obama made decisions about pulling out troops based on domestic politics, not based on national security, and didn't leave any intelligence and help necessary to secure the wins and the gains that we made at great cost and at great sacrifice."

Landrieu released a statement saying, "The current turmoil in Iraq, the Middle East and Ukraine reminds us again how important and urgent it is for our nation to become energy secure. We can start by unleashing North America’s potential as an energy powerhouse by strengthening our alliance with Canada and Mexico and building energy infrastructure like the Keystone Pipeline. Keystone will allow the United States to import oil from a close ally instead of from volatile countries and regions. It would provide more than double the amount of oil we import from Iraq every day. This is one of the reasons why I'm bringing a bill to the Energy Committee tomorrow to approve Keystone. We have the chance to make North America an energy superpower, and we should take it."

Wednesday, congressional leaders are expected to meet with Obama to discuss the situation in Iraq.

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