Politics

Florida Delegation Mainly Supports Airstrikes in Iraq

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: August 9, 2014 3:55 AM
Marco Rubio and Alan Grayson

Marco Rubio and Alan Grayson

After President Barack Obama announced  he had authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in northern Iraq on Thursday night, members of the Florida delegation expressed their support of the his decision.

From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he backed Obama’s decision. Rubio is a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

“I am encouraged that American forces are providing humanitarian relief to threatened populations, including Christians and other religious minorities in northern Iraq,” Rubio said after Obama’s announcement. “My thoughts and prayers are with our men and women in uniform who are in harm's way tonight carrying out this mission.

“It is important to remember that ISIL threatens not just Iraqis but also the security of the United States and our allies in the region as it consolidates its control of territory that can be used as a base from which to launch attacks,” Rubio added. “That is why I've been urging President Obama since June to conduct airstrikes against ISIL targets and to provide additional lethal assistance and other support to the Iraqi government. A key part of such an effort should be to provide direct humanitarian and military assistance to the Kurds, who face a growing military and humanitarian challenge in northern Iraq as they confront ISIL and also host thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria who have been forced to flee their homes.

“Without immediate U.S. action, it will not just be innocent Syrians and Iraqis who pay the price of ISIL's rise,” Rubio insisted in conclusion.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.,one of the leading Republicans in Congress when it comes to international affairs, from her time leading the House Foreign Affairs Committee and now chairing the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, also backed Obama’s decision. Ros-Lehtinen made the media rounds on Thursday night, appearing on CNN and supporting launching the airstrikes.

Ros-Lehtinen continued that theme on Friday, supporting the airstrikes even while she criticized the Obama administration for waiting too long to launch them.

“Conducting military airstrikes against ISIL is a good step toward preventing this brutal terrorist group from expanding its reach in Iraq and possibly into neighboring countries, but this action from the White House is long overdue,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “For months, the Iraqi government has pleaded with the administration to get engaged in Iraq and provide air support to combat the menacing threat of ISIL that is now endangering Erbil.

“The Kurds have been reliable allies of the U.S. in Iraq, and are outgunned, so they need our support to fight back against ISIL, which continues to threaten the lives of religious minorities as Christian towns are being overrun and Iraqi Christians are being forced to choose between being executed or renouncing their religion and converting to Islam,” Ros-Lehtinen continued. “Just like we should have acted in Syria long ago, millions of people in Iraq are suffering and are looking to the United States for help and we must answer the call to prevent a possible genocide.

“The U.S. must take all appropriate and necessary measures to prevent the threat of ISIL from spilling over to neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon that can cause further destabilization in the region and to protect the national security interests of the United States of combating terrorism,” Ros-Lehtinen said in conclusion.

From his seat on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., said on Friday that he backed the airstrikes. But Crenshaw criticized Obama’s handling of ISIL and called for more outreach from the White House about long-range plans in Iraq.

“The president’s decision to authorize targeted military airstrikes in Iraq is appropriate under the current circumstances,” Crenshaw said on Friday. “However, we are once again plagued by a lack of leadership, and no long-term course strategy from President Obama for dealing with the threat that ISIL poses to this region and beyond. He must inform Congress and the American public about every step of this mission and, most importantly, lay out the plan for its completion. My thoughts and prayers are with the U.S. forces who are leading these operations.”

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., said on Friday she backed Obama’s decision.

“Last night, President Obama authorized necessary action to protect American personnel and assist Iraqi civilians fleeing the brutal forces of the ISIL terror group. Our nation has a long history of helping those anywhere in the world who need help,” Brown said. “It is fully within the president’s powers as commander in chief to make these decisions to provide humanitarian assistance and to use any actions to protect the United States' service members while they perform their duties.

“I support this mission and President Obama’s decision to disrupt ISIL’s efforts that murder and sow lawlessness in the Middle East,” Brown added. “I will continue to monitor this situation closely, and I commend the dedicated service of our young men and women performing these humanitarian missions. May God continue to bless the United States of America.”

But not every Democrat fell in line behind the president. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., came out strongly against the airstrikes, showcasing his “No New War” petitions against continued military operations in Iraq. By Friday afternoon, Grayson had already exceeded his goal of collecting at least 25,000 signatures.

“There is no such thing as humanitarian bombing, in Iraq or anywhere else,” Grayson insisted on Friday.



Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (2)

C Breeze
12:09PM AUG 9TH 2014
Personally, I'm in favor of the "Truman Solution"; One A-bomb, (still don't get the message ?), Two A-bombs , (bet they'll get the message then). Truman knew that the 'fundamentalist' Japanese would fight to the death all over the Pacific basin killing thousands upon thousands of American soldiers, sailors and marines. Remember, this was 1945, towards the end of the war and after we defeated NAZI Germany (very similar to our Mid-East involvement today).
Well, the 'fundamentalist' Muslims are tribal, when they have no common enemy they fight each other and have been doing so for over 5,000 years. Having been suppressed and contained during the Crusades, they have now enjoyed modern weapons, transportation and intelligence gathering methods...and WILL NOT STOP UNTIL FORCED TO STOP.
A decade or so after President Truman STOPPED the 'fundamental' Japanese 'in their tracks', Japan became one of the richest manufacturing companies in the world, and one of America's greatest allies.
The 'fundamentalist' Muslims will NEVER stop their aggression, AND UNLIKE THE JAPANESE OF 1945, Muslim "sleeper cells" are now already in this country and their numbers are exponentially increasing.
If we want to preserve the American "lifeblood & treasure" (our youth) and stop wasting our military lives with one political war campaign after another all over the globe instigated by an incompetent moronic President, THEN THE "TRUMAN SOLUTION" IS THE ABSOLUTE ANSWER,... (a side benefit to this is that then Americans can be suddenly and ABSOLUTELY certain that Muslims already in America, building thousands of mosques and madrassas, will indeed become true peaceful religious freedom believing Americans with no further thought of 'Sharia law'. The "TRUMAN SOLUTION"...'history' begs your attention... ("Humanitarian solutions" can ONLY work for humanitarian believing populations who practice a human rights lifestyle and NOT closed-minded 'fundamentalist' war and genocide.)
Fire
7:27AM AUG 9TH 2014
Everyone excepts and stands behind President Obama for Airstrikes, which are needed for humanitarian reasons in Iraq. Everyone see's this ISil or ISIS a threat to the U.S., and the leader of ISIL says he will meet in New York he also says he's looking to see his alla Flag flying over White House yet we don't see anyone say seal our border. Not our President, Not anyone in Congress and no one from the media. What, are we so proud to think that ISIL wouldn't come across our border and enter our country illegally. If Mexicans can and children from 3 to 17 can cross into the U.S. illegally them what makes you think terrorists won't. Seal our U.S. Borders now that we are taunting ISIL. Sorry Alan Grayson doesn't count.

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