U.S. House Republican leader says all options open in Iraq

WASHINGTON Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:37am EDT

U.S. House Majority Leader-elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gestures on the second day of the 5th annual Faith & Freedom Coalition's ''Road to Majority'' Policy Conference in Washington, June 20, 2014.     REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. House Majority Leader-elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gestures on the second day of the 5th annual Faith & Freedom Coalition's ''Road to Majority'' Policy Conference in Washington, June 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The newly elected No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Sunday he would not rule out sending American troops to Iraq to help Baghdad in its fight against a Sunni insurgency.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, who was elected last week to the majority leader's post in the House, also said President Barack Obama needed to lay out an overall strategy for dealing with terrorism in the Middle East region.

Asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether he would support putting "boots on the ground" in Iraq, McCarthy said: "I'd put everything on the table. But most people, when you talk to them, don't think boots on the ground work right now."

Obama announced last week he was sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq's Shi'ite-led government, which is fighting an insurgency led by the Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Obama, who withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011, has ruled out sending troops back there and has urged the Baghdad government to take urgent steps to heal the country's sectarian rift.

McCarthy said he supported Obama's decision to send the advisers, which will staff joint operations centers for intelligence sharing and planning, but he also called on Obama to outline a broader strategy for combating terrorism.

"I do not have a problem with sending the 300," McCarthy said. "What are they going to do? If you don't have an overall strategy, how do we push back this momentum of this terrorism that is growing throughout the entire region."

McCarthy was elected on Thursday to the majority leader's job by his fellow Republicans in the House, moving up from the No. 3 position. He takes over after the current majority leader, Eric Cantor, said he would step down on July 31 after losing to a Tea Party conservative this month in a primary election.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Jim Loney and Gareth Jones)

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Comments (13)
TheNewWorld wrote:
Freaking NeoCons. They still can’t understand that we have no dog in the fight in Iraq. Neither side wants us there, most Americans do not want us there, and we are practically bankrupt.

Jun 22, 2014 12:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Margaretville wrote:
As a life-long moderate Republican and fiscal Conservative I say that Kevin McCarthy needs to learn that the right-wing Christian knee jerk desire for perennial war is not shared by sensible people. Another boots-on-the-ground operation in Iraq? McCarthy, that’s not being Conservative, that’s being crazy!

Jun 22, 2014 12:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sabrefencer wrote:
Let Iran, the Shiites kill themselves, as they have been doing for centuries..the head of Iraq, is already controlled by Iran…which is why all the Sunni aren’t helping them, fight off these invaders…what we need to do is get back to what is really the problem in the middle east….IRAN, IRAN, IRAN ……they have helped Syria, helped stoke the flames of war, thru Hezbollah, Hamas..Lebanon, no longer will exist as we knew it, neither will Iraq…neither will the gulf states and the Saudis, as iran will come for them next…when Iran gets their nukes and hydrogen bombs, then maybe non of us will exist…then the angry old men, whose lives are over anyway, will have taken a few billion, to keep with them in the h…, that they are headed for….

Jun 22, 2014 1:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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