House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that it is not the responsibility of the United States to save Iraq’s fledgling government from a violent uprising that has already taken over a sizable chunk of Iraq’s territory.
“I don’t think this is our responsibility, but I do think we were irresponsible going into Iraq for a variety of other reasons,” she told reporters.
Her remark is contrary to the point several Republicans made on Thursday, which is that the Obama administration pulled out of Iraq too soon, and left Iraq vulnerable to this sort of uprising.
It also seems to go against the Strategic Framework Agreement that the U.S. has with Iraq, under which the U.S. has promised Iraq’s government to help deter threats. Earlier in the day, the White House announced that Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and said the U.S. is “prepared to continue to intensify and accelerate security support and cooperation with Iraq, under the Strategic Framework Agreement” to confront the threat.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria sacked and looted Mosul, and the group — which many reports say is essentially an army at this point — has threatened to invade Baghdad.
But while Republicans said this turn of events threatens to undo all the work the U.S. did to secure Iraq over the last decade, Pelosi said it makes no sense to go back.
“Are we going to re-fight the war that we just got out of… for… almost a decade?”
Pelosi also spent considerable time arguing that the Bush administration purposefully misrepresented the need to go to war in Iraq more than a decade ago.
“[G]o back to 2002… when the Bush administration misrepresented the facts to the American people, took us into a war on a false premise that they knew not to be true,” she said. She said she never saw any intelligence demanding U.S. military intervention in Iraq, and said the Iraq war diverted U.S. attention away from Afghanistan.
“Pardon me for going back, but before we go forward, we have to know what’s going on, and I think the American people do not have an appetite for sacrificing our troops, our precious treasure… to be engaged in a conflict there,” she said.
When asked why Americans have no appetite for war, she replied, “It doesn’t matter why, it is a fact. The American people have been exhausted with wars.”
Despite her comments, the Obama administration indicated on Thursday that it was considering all options for helping Iraq. Both President Obama and the State Department said the only option that was not on the table at this point was “boots on the ground.”
Republican senators have suggested air strikes or drone strikes against ISIS.