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Manchin open to limited intervention in Iraq

Charleston Daily Mail photo from The Associated Press  U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin
Charleston Daily Mail photo from The Associated Press
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin would be open to very limited U.S. strategic military support for the Iraq government but said, ultimately, it will be up to the Iraqi people to stand up and fight for their country.

Two and a half years after the U.S. concluded its nearly nine-year war to remove Saddam Hussein and set up an independent government in Iraq, the country stands on the brink of collapse as an al-Qaida-breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, made up of mostly Sunni Muslims, has advanced against the mostly Shiite Muslim-led government.

Manchin, D-W.Va., speaking to reporters gathered at an Export-Import Bank forum in Charleston Monday, said members of Congress have been shocked at the pace Islamic State militants have taken cities in Iraq. He said the U.S. State Department and intelligence agencies apparently did not and still don’t have a full grasp on the situation.

“Our intelligence has let us down tremendously, it’s been awful,” he said. “Something is wrong, seriously wrong.”

While Manchin and others in Congress are working to get more information on the situation, he said one message is clear among members of both parties in Congress: they don’t want to see U.S. troops return to Iraq.

“We have no desire to put boots on the ground,” Manchin said. “There’s not a Democrat or Republican in the Senate that I’ve spoken to that’s said, ‘Let’s put our troops back in.’ No one’s for that, and the president’s said he won’t do it, thank God…


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