Sen. Leahy: Don’t Go Back Into Iraq

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said Tuesday the United States should not send troops back to Iraq to quell the growing insurgency, arguing that there’s little the U.S. can do given the grim realities on the ground. He said proponents of restarting military operations in Iraq are reusing old arguments that incubated the war.

“The mistake was going into that war in Iraq in the first place. You know, we were told that we had to go there because they weapons of mass destruction. Of course, they didn’t have any. When Dick Cheney and others came up and told us that, they knew they didn’t have any,” Leahy told reporters in the Capitol. “We wasted $2 trillion, thousands of lives, ended up with a country worse off than it was to begin with. And then the leader in the country, [Nouri al-]Maliki told us to get out. Some would say we ought to say ‘thank you.’ He told us to get out, we’re out.”

“And now we’re saying ‘we’ve gotta go back in there, send troops to do everything because after all they’re a danger to us’? Sounds to me like the very same arguments we heard to go in there in the first place,” he said. “If Maliki is not even willing to do some of the things he should have done for years, it kinda limits what we can do.”

Leahy said President Barack Obama’s plan, announced Monday, to send 275 troops to Baghdad to protect U.S. diplomatic forces was “reasonable” in order to guard American interests.

Leahy was one of just 23 senators to vote against the 2002 resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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