NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As violence in Iraq escalates, Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday the U.S. should not intervene.
“We should not do nation building, which means no boots on the ground,” Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.
But the senator said he does support using drones to protect America from future attacks.
“Al Qaeda, ISIS or anyone else who are setting up bases that would be used to attack our homeland, like the bases in Afghanistan did on 9/11, we should take them out with unmanned drones,” Schumer said.
Schumer said he’s proud of the men and women who fought in Iraq, it would be futile to send them back.
“I think that there’s an age-old fight between Sunnis and Shias, and I don’t think we’re going to solve that problem,” he said. “They’re going to have to solve that for themselves without American troops being there.”
Schumer’s former colleague in the Senate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, recently said she was wrong for voting to support the war in Iraq.
He has not reached the same conclusion.
“You make decisions at the time,” he said. “That’s what happens.”
On Sunday, Sunni militants captured two border crossings, one along the frontier with Jordan and the other with Syria, security and military officials said, as they pressed on with their offensive in one of Iraq’s most restive regions.
The fall dealt Iraq’s embattled Shiite prime minister a further blow and brought the war to the doorstep of Jordan, a key ally of the United States that also borders embattled Syria to its north.
The blitz by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq’s vast western desert take ISIS, the al Qaeda-breakaway group, closer to its dream of carving out a purist Islamic state straddling both Syria and Iraq.
Controlling the borders with Syria will also help it supply fellow fighters in Syria with weaponry looted from Iraqi warehouses, significantly reinforcing its ability to battle beleaguered Syrian government forces.
If they succeed in their quest, they could further unsettle the already volatile Middle East and serve as a magnet for Jihadists from across the world — much like al Qaeda attracted extremists in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
The U.S. has been drawn back into the conflict. It is deploying up to 300 military advisers to join some 275 troops in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy and other American interests.
President Barack Obama, in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” airing Sunday, warned that the al Qaeda-inspired militants in Iraq could grow in power and destabilize the region.
He said Washington must remain “vigilant” but would not “play whack-a-mole and send U.S. troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up.”
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