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Should U.S. Do More or Less in Iraq? Lawmakers Weigh In

Iraqis inspect the scene of a car bomb explosion outside the Shiite Mustafa prayer hall, or Husseiniya, in the southwest of the northern Kurdish controlled Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
Marwan Ibrahim | AFP | Getty Images
Iraqis inspect the scene of a car bomb explosion outside the Shiite Mustafa prayer hall, or Husseiniya, in the southwest of the northern Kurdish controlled Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

Lawmakers on opposites sides of the aisle weighed in Sunday on President Barack Obama's authorization of "targeted airstrikes" aimed at combating militants who have moved into a strategic Iraqi city and are holding religion minorities in the country captive.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Iraqis are responsible for saving their own country, and while the United States can help, "we must not send the troops."

Obama on Saturday reiterated that the U.S. would not be sending troops to fight on the ground in Iraq, but other efforts to protect American citizens and Iraqis in the country would present "a long-term project."

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Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) admonished the president for laying out a game-plan against Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fighters.

"Whatever you do as commander-in-chief, you never tell the enemy what you're going to do," King said, adding that he doesn't think the president is doing enough. "Why wait months and months before the Iraqi government is back in place," King asked countering Obama saying Saturday that "in the absence of an Iraqi government, it is very hard to get a uniformed effort against" the militants.

King said that the U.S. "should do whatever we have to do" — including new military bases in the region — because ISIS is "more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11." King said the threat of ISIS reaches beyond Iraq, beyond Syria and directly into the U.S.


By Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News