The call for all-out war against Islamic extremists is growing louder in the Pentagon, Congress and the White House as the U.S. carries on increasing overt and covert military actions in the Middle East targeting primarily ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
But Rep. Peter DeFazio says, “History has shown that U.S. involvement in sectarian as well as civil wars raging in the Middle East does not benefit our interests. ISIS would not exist today if it were not for the unnecessary U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which I voted against.”
His statements against U.S. involvement are outlined in a letter to a Eugene constituent and echo his more public positions. “Limited military strikes lacking clear purpose and achievable objectives are not an acceptable solution to the current conflict,” he writes. “They are a recipe for entanglement in further warfare.”
The McKeon Amendment to train and equip Syrian rebels passed the House of Representatives 273-156 on Sept. 17, and DeFazio was one of the only 85 Democrats to vote “no.” DeFazio describes the Syrian opposition as “a complex mess of various actors, many of whom cannot be considered trustworthy allies. Not even our intelligence agencies know who we can trust.” He goes on to write, “Using U.S. weapons to fight Assad would put us right in the middle of the Syrian civil war, a conflict that will last for several more years.”
“It is easy to argue that continued U.S. military actions in the Middle East only create more hatred directed at our nation and increase the risk of terrorism both here and abroad,” he writes. “ISIS is a regional threat and it is time for Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and other so-called ‘partners’ to step up and fight this war themselves. They have no incentive to do it if we keeping fighting it for them.”
DeFazio has introduced legislation to strengthen the War Powers Act. He says his H.J. Res. 60 would “make clear that, before the president undertakes an offensive military action, prior authorization from Congress is required. Gen. Martin Dempsey testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he would put U.S. troops on the ground if he felt it was necessary, despite the president’s numerous statements that he would not put boots on the ground. Already you can hear the march to war.”