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Sanders to planet Earth: Help U.S. with airstrikes in Iraq

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014, about the Veterans Administration. The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees offered competing new proposals to fix a veterans health care program scandalized by long waits and falsified records covering up the delays. (AP Photo) AP Photo

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday raised a key question about the U.S. campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq — won't anybody else in the world help out?

"The United States is not the only country on Earth with an air force," Sanders said in a release. "While I support President Obama's decision to use airstrikes to protect the lives of thousands of innocent people of the Yazidi minority, the U.S. should not have to act alone militarily in this crisis."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Wednesday that it should not fall to the U.S. alone to use airstrikes to thwart the Islamic State in Iraq. (AP Photo)

"ISIS is a danger to the entire region and to the world," he added. "The international community must work with the U.S."

Sanders's comment is similar to those others have made in the past week, calling on the Obama administration not only to develop a strategy in Iraq, but to carry out that strategy with allies. Last week, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called for coordinated efforts to deal with the Islamic State.

"I support actions by the administration to coordinate efforts with Iraq and other allies to use our military strength and targeting expertise to the fullest extent possible," she said.

On Tuesday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said ISIS has carved out territory in Iraq and Syria that is larger than the territory controlled by Al Qaeda before 9/11, and that ISIS has expressed an interest in attacking the United States.

"It is far past time for President Obama to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat the threat posed by ISIS," they said. "While the humanitarian aid efforts undertaken by the administration are an important first step, they should be accompanied by additional steps to degrade ISIS's capabilities, including U.S. air strikes against ISIS positions in both Iraq and Syria and the immediate provision of military assistance to our partners who are fighting against ISIS."

On Monday, a U.S. military officer told reporters that airstrikes alone would not put a dent in ISIS's capabilities, and instead are being used to protect U.S. assets and blunt an offensive against refugees in northern Iraq.

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