June 13, 2014

Inhofe comments on Iraq committee meetings during phone interview

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


As the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, committees from both chambers of Congress met yesterday to discuss possible solutions. 

Ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) said he believes the United States should be involved in preventing further escalation.  

Over the last three days the terrorist organization known as ISIS has waged a bloody campaign across Iraq resulting in mass causalities and occupation. 

Inhofe, who spent the morning in committee meetings addressing the fighting, said the most cautious thing the United States can do now is conform with the requests of the Iraqi government. 

"Toward the end of the conflict, our troops were not doing anything but recognizance and intelligence missions," he said. "We need to reinstate non-lethal support, such as surveillance and support intelligence, and we need to look at what we are going to do strategically, which may include some bombing strikes."

Inhofe said he has received reports of Iraqi soldiers wearing civilian clothes under their uniforms, so they can desert if need be. 

"Right now we are in the process of trying to get our Iraqi security forces under control," he said. 

President Obama's decisions in Iraq led to the current upheaval, according to Inhofe. 

"President Obama’s failed strategy in Iraq contributed to the chaos we are seeing today," Inhofe said. "Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists have returned and are overtaking key cities including Fallujah, Tikrit and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. He squandered the significant gains our troops made possible in Iraq at great cost in blood and treasure. He failed to listen to his commanders on the ground. He failed to finish negotiations on a Status of Forces agreement that would have allowed continued training and support of Iraqi forces. He failed to understand the global impact of America’s retreat from Iraq." 

Inhofe said he fears consequences for the United States from the Iraqi unrest. 

"This is a direct result of the vacuum created by the Obama Administration’s failure of leadership and failed foreign policy. It is giving terrorists a safe haven in Iraq, Syria, and soon Afghanistan, and will bring terrorists to our door step," he said. 

Inhofe said he spoke with Gen. Joseph Dunford yesterday on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, and the future of Afghanistan. 

"I also told him that I’m deeply concerned about the future of the mission in Afghanistan. President Obama’s reckless decision to release five top Taliban commanders from Guantanamo increases the threat to the fragile government of Afghanistan, legitimizes the Taliban, and comes on the heels of the President’s announcement to withdraw troops at the end of 2016 without consideration of the conditions on the ground," he said.