Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is reacting to the deployment of 275 American troops to Iraq. President Obama is dispatching the troops to provide security and to act as advisors to officials in Iraq, which many feel is teetering on the brink of civil war. Grassley says the situation in Iraq is very shaky. “I wouldn’t advocate more U.S. troops but I would advocate as much intelligence information as they can give us, because we have intelligence-gathering capability that they don’t have,” Grassley says. “We can coordinate with them on the ground for the use of the drones or other air power.”
The White House says the troops will be “equipped for combat” to protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. At least 170 of the soldiers are already deployed. Grassley, a Republican, says it’s unfortunate how the situation is unfolding. “A lot of what we’re doing is playing catch up,” he says. “It’s kind of like locking the barn door after the horse’s escaped.”
Fears are being raised about the extremist group known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has already captured a few key cities in Iraq and is moving toward Baghdad. Grassley says the escalating threats in Iraq, along with new actions by Russia’s president in Ukraine, are compounding the United States’ foreign policy problems.
Grassley says, “You can understand that when we have a president that’s not considered credible with the rest of the world, that it does lead to these gambles that other people take.” He says a small contingent of U.S. troops likely should have been left in Iraq to back up and train Iraqis “would have prevented this” current situation.