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Lawmakers square off over Obama's Iraq policy

Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 01:58

As violence escalates in Iraq in the face of a Sunni insurgency, members of Congress debate how to respond. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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As civil war rages in Iraq, U.S. lawmakers are debating what plan of action to take. Radical militants called I-S-I-L -- also known as ISIS -- are fighting government forces in the north. Obama announced Thursday he would send military advisers to the country. But he ruled out U.S. troops on the ground. He has also held off on granting Baghdad's request for air strikes. Speaking on Face the Nation Sunday, President Obama defended his position. SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "What we can't do is think that we're just going to play whack-a-mole and send US troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up. We're going to have to have a more focused, more targeted strategy and we're going to have to partner and train local law enforcement and military to do their jobs as well." But some believe swift intervention is necessary. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said dealing with Iraq was a matter of national security. SOUNDBITE (English) REPUBLICAN SENATOR FROM FLORIDA, MARCO RUBIO, SAYING: "Without a doubt, I think this is an urgent counter-terrorism matter. I know a lot has been talked about the future of Iraq itself as a country and that's a very legitimate issue that needs to be looked at, but for me this is not about nation-building, or imposing democracy -- this is a counter-terrorism risk that we need to nip in the bud." Democratic Senator from California, Barbara Boxer, supported Obama's policy. SOUNDBITE (English) DEMOCRATIC SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA, BARBARA BOXER, SAYING: "We're not going to go back into that war again, ever. The fact is what you're seeing now is an outgrowth of that bad policy the neo-cons got us in, that crowd on false pretense that said, "Go in there." And as a result, ISIS was born. Let's face that fact." A Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week showed that Americans overwhelmingly oppose U.S. intervention in Iraq.

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Lawmakers square off over Obama's Iraq policy

Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 01:58