Politics

Senate Democrats Call For Ban On U.S. Ground Troops Against ISIS

| by Ethan Brown

U.S. Senate Democrats, the minority party in the chamber, are attempting to ban the use of ground troops to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization by adding amendments to defense policy legislation currently in Congress.

Leading the charge is Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who was joined by Connecticut’s other Senator, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, in advocating for the wording to be added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA legislation authorizes the Pentagon’s budget for the year.

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The amendment would essentially ban U.S. ground combat troops from battling ISIS, according to The Hill. The amendment would allow for only "limited exceptions" to the ban, including rescue operations, intelligence gathering, and planning.

While Murphy admitted that both parties will likely not approve of this idea, he believed it was time to have a discussion about America’s future role in combating the increasingly powerful and hostile terrorist group.

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“We’ve been avoiding this debate for a year,” Murphy said.

Later speaking on the Senate floor, Murphy expanded on his thoughts.

“Given that we are reauthorizing hundreds of millions of dollars in this bill in order to take the fight to ISIL," he said, "I think it makes sense to have some common sense limitations on the use of that money that are in keeping with very public promise that the president has made."

While the Obama administration has not announced any plans to send in troops to fight ISIS, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the White House does not want or support a ban on military action, The Hill reported.

In his proposition, Sen. Murphy used the Iraq War as an example of why U.S. troops should not be allowed to fight ISIS.

“There is nothing about the last 10 years of American occupation in Iraq that tells us that U.S. troops inside Iraq can have the effect of killing more terrorists that are created,” he said.

President Barack Obama sent an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight ISIS, to Congress earlier this year, but the legislators have yet to act on the matter. However, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona have introduced a proposal to the Foreign Relations Committee in hopes of continued talks on the authorization.

Murphy also blamed the Iraq War, specifically U.S. troop involvement, for “directly created the conditions that led to the Islamic State’s rise, and provided our enemies with the propaganda they needed to recruit more terrorists than we could kill.”

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii also sponsored the measure, the CT Mirror noted.

Sources: The Hill, The CT Mirror

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