In an appearance on Thursday’s “Hardball” on MSNBC, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, reflected on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, as ISIS forces close on the capital city of Baghdad.
Manchin told host Chris Matthews he did not see a will from the Iraqi people to defend themselves and without that will, there was no use in committing U.S. ground troops in the forsaken country. He said he would be open to the possibility of air strikes if the rest of the United Nations backed such action.
“A lot of people don’t get it. That’s been predicted for quite some time,” Manchin said. “I have often said this, if money or military mite would change that part of the world, we would have done it by now. And to bring us back into this, I don’t think anybody will come out of it. How long do you want us to stay? I know my fellow colleagues, some of them, think we still should have had a presence – we should have stayed in perpetuity. I don’t buy into that. I don’t agree with that. Now, what do we do now? Can we help? We got to see if they have the will to defend their country. Do they have the will to defend themselves? They have got to fight for it.”
“We have got an awful lot invested in that country and the sacrifices our men and women and soldiers and families have made is beyond compared to anything else anybody else has done — not counting the resources we put there,” he continued. “Now we’re finding out they’ve taken our equipment, our supplies, our weapons and now moving into Syria to reengage in that fight and use them against us, I’m sure. And someone said what should we do? They’ve suggested maybe air strikes. That’s something I think would be more receptive if we think we can get the rest of the United Nations involved with us to try to help them defend themselves. But they’ve got to show the will to fight. And I don’t think, Chris, there’s any. I haven’t detected any type of support to put troops on the ground again back in Iraq.”
Manchin admitted he was skeptical of any sort of success as long as there was a sectarian split within Iraq.
“If we haven’t been able train them and give them the skills and equipment to defend themselves now, right, wrong or indifferent, whether it be Shiite, Sunni wherever we are — we’ve already made our bed,” he added. “And if that’s where we are, and we’re going to basically see if we can hold on to what little bit of a country or a regime that they have, I don’t believe putting 5,000 troops on the ground, we’ll ever get 5,000 troops out. I think it will be in perpetuity and I am not that for that. Chris. I don’t believe that we can change that hatred between these sects. I just don’t believe that can be done. So with that being said, can we help them gain control? How can they have a unified government to where they can all work together? In some form of a democracy? They don’t want one.”
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