White House To GOP: If You Want Troops In Iraq, You ‘Should Say So’

January 6, 2014 2:43 p.m.
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Republicans have used recent strife in Iraq as an opening to criticize President Obama. But if it’s boots on the ground that these GOP lawmakers want, the White House thinks they ought to be candid.

Following reports that the Iraqi city of Fallujah had fallen into the control of an al Qaida-affiliated group over the weekend, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasted little time in putting out a statement blaming the tumult on the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the country in 2011.

The instability in Fallujah, where American troops fought one of the bloodiest battles in 2004, is both “tragic” and “predictable,” the hawkish senators contended.

“The Administration must recognize the failure of its policies in the Middle East and change course,” they said in the statement. “America has lost time, options, influence, and credibility over the past five years, and we cannot afford to remain disengaged any longer.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the likes of McCain and Graham ought to be transparent about what exactly they’re proposing.

“I’ve heard members of Congress suggest this, but if members were suggesting that there should be American troops fighting and dying in Fallujah today, they should say so,” Carney said during his daily press briefing.

“The President doesn’t believe that.”

Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear on Sunday that while the United States may provide some assistance to Iraq, no American troops will be deployed.

“This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis,” Kerry said.

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