Tags: Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | joe manchin | iraq | us

Joe Manchin: More US Troops Not Answer for Dysfunctional Iraq

Image: Joe Manchin: More US Troops Not Answer for Dysfunctional Iraq
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By    |   Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015 10:44 AM

Putting more money and troops into the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) is not the answer for solving the ongoing crisis, Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday, calling for a new strategy for dealing with escalating conflicts in the Middle East.

"Past results have not been very good," the West Virginia Democrat and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee told MSNBC's Morning Joe program. "I would think that basically, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and thinking you're going to change and have a different result."

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According to The New York Times, the Obama administration will announce plans on Wednesday for establishing a new military base in Anbar province, Iraq, and to send as many as 450 more American military trainers to the country in an attempt to help Iraq take back the city of Ramadi, which ISIS seized in May.

The city's fall settled the administration's debate on the issue, reports the Times, and officials said Ramadi will likely become the focus of a long campaign that will include retaking the city of Mosul at a later date.

But Manchin on Wednesday said that more consideration must be given to the past, as U.S. troops were in Iraq for more than a dozen years already.

"We've had upwards to 100,000 troops in those areas, in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Manchin. "It's still in as bad, if not worse shape, than it was.

"Are they ever going to have the will to defend themselves? Are we trying to put a government together with people that basically have been fighting for 1,400 years that don't want to be together?"

He said he believes a better solution may be one proposed by Vice President Joe Biden many years ago — that of creating a three autonomous regions out of the Iraqi state.

"You're going to have the Shiites and Sunnis having a comfort area they can control themselves," Manchin said of the Biden plan, "and the Kurds and all of them have to be able to live in a region."

He also said that he does not know if the United States is trying to "force something together that's not going to work."

Further, Manchin pointed out that if it were not for Iraqi troops leaving their weapons behind as they retreat from battle, "ISIS would have no hardware. They have ours because they keep turning them over to them."

Biden's approach has been mocked, Manchin acknowledged, but "the bottom line, we tried everything else. You know, Churchill said many years ago, 'the Americans will always do the right thing after they tried everything else.'"

But as for putting more troops in, "if you talk to the surrounding neighbors, they don't believe that troops, American troops on the ground, does anything but infuriates and instigates more retaliation," he said.

"They have to want to have the resolve to solve this themselves. They haven't showed that so far."

Meanwhile, Turkey is opposed to arming Kurds, who they regard as an enemy, but Manchin said that country will have to become involved in the fight.

"If they think that ISIS is not going to bother them or come into their territory or do harm to their people, they're badly mistaken," Manchin said of Turkish officials. "Sure, they should be. And they're going to have to engage. ... The Kurds basically have proven that they will fight. They will defend themselves and they will help protect the region. They want their own autonomy."

The senator, though, said that he is concerned about building the will of troops in the Middle East to fight for themselves.

"Do we have to be there for eternity, basically fighting the war for them?" he said. "The Kurds aren't going to come over and do much fighting for the Sunnis. They'll protect their area.

"So the bottom line is," said Manchin, "if we go in there, do the Sunnis have any type of confidence that we're going to help them establish their own regime and accept that, and then the Shiites have theirs?

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Putting more money and troops into the fight against the Islamic State is not the answer for solving the ongoing crisis, Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday, calling for a new strategy for dealing with escalating conflicts in the Middle East.
joe manchin, iraq, us, military, advisers, ramadi
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2015-44-10
Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015 10:44 AM
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