Congressman Bruce Braley says there is “bipartisan concern” about President Obama’s new plan of attack against Islamic terrorists who’ve ruthlessly taken control of parts of Iraq and Syria.
“Democrats and Republicans are going to be spending a lot of time digging deeper into the president’s proposal because of the scope of the committment he’s asking for and because of the concerns many of us have about what exactly is going to happen with that money,” Braley says.
Last Wednesday President Obama asked congress to authorize spending half a billion dollars to train and arm rebels inside Syria who are fighting the Islamic State. Braley says the U.S. already spent far more than that to train “nearly a million” Iraqis to police and defend their own country.
“And recently they were rolled back by somewhere around 15,000 terrorists associated with ISIL,” Braley says. “So from the standpoint of the America people I think we need to have some real firm answers about how this committment is going to protect American security interests, stabilize the government of Iraq — and it’s absolutely clear that a military solution alone is not going to solve this problem.”
According to Braley, Iraq’s central government must show a willingness to allow all factions to be represented, rather than favor one side or another in the centuries’ old conflict between the two main branches of Muslims — the Sunnis and the Shias. Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, is running for the U.S. Senate. However, as a current member of congress, he attended a security briefing held last week for members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“There were a lot of things brought up — obviously things that I can’t talk about,” Braley says. “But there was bipartisan concern about the scope of the request, what would be accomplished with the financial resources the president is asking us to commit.”
President Obama has also authorized air strikes into Syria. Obama has also said a coalition of countries would join the effort “to ensure the U.S. doesn’t act alone.” That’s a key question that needs to be answered, according to Braley.
“Do we have the support of key allies?” Braley asks. “Do we have the support of the American people and what is our exit strategy?”
Braley says congress should take some sort of a vote to authorize expanded U.S. action against the Islamic militants, which President Obama refers to as ISIL, but Braley says it’s unclear whether congress will have all the information it needs in order to take such a vote before the election.
The leaders of 30 countries gathered in Paris yesterday to talk about combatting the threat of the Islamic terrorists known as ISIL. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, plus the leaders of key European countries, the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the key Arab states of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are there.
Braley faces Republican Joni Ernst in this fall’s election.