Florida Delegation Weighs in on Military Options in Iraq

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 19, 2014 3:55 AM
Marco Rubio and Alan Grayson

Marco Rubio and Alan Grayson

As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces continue to gain momentum in Iraq and President Barack Obama plans to send 275 troops to defend the American embassy in Baghdad, members of the Florida congressional delegation are starting to weigh in on the matter. 

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is backing Obama’s plan to rely on more troops to defend the embassy.

“We’re sending an additional 275 troops to Baghdad to protect our embassy,” Nelson said on Tuesday. “That’s a good thing.”

Nelson also backed an increased naval buildup in the area in case the situation deteriorates.

“We’re going to send a carrier and an amphibious transport ship into the Persian Gulf in case we have to evacuate those Americans,” Nelson said. “And in the meantime, we’re going to try to work with our allies to stop the sectarian violence that’s about to blow Iraq apart.”

Asked about Iraq on Jimmy Cafalo’s radio show on 610 WIOD in Miami on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called for using air power to hamper ISIL.

“The primary issue is that the reason why 9/11 happened was because al-Qaida was able to use Afghanistan as a safe haven, where they were untouchable,” Rubio said. “And from there, they plotted these attacks and carried them out. What we never want to see happen again is the emergence of another safe haven anywhere in the world because we know that what they want to do from those safe havens is attack us. They’re planning to do that now –  if they had a safe haven to do it, it would only accelerate that.

“And that’s what’s happening here in Iraq,” Rubio insisted. “This group used to be part of al-Qaida. They’re actually in dispute with al-Qaida because al-Qaida – as brutal and ugly as al-Qaida is – they actually have cut ties with this group because this group is brutal to Muslims, and al-Qaida thinks that’s counterproductive. So they’re actually, in some instances, even more brutal than al-Qaida has been.

“And so this ISIL group is an extremely dangerous group,” Rubio added. “They have now established, or are on the verge of establishing, a safe haven in both areas that encompass both Syria and Iraq. And I think what we need to do is we should target – in any way possible, through the air and any other means available to us – the supply routes that are allowing them to carry out this advance. And those supply routes are coming out of eastern Syria and transversing into western and northwestern Iraq. And we should be targeting those supply routes to cut these guys off from making any further advances.”

But not every member of the Florida delegation is ready for renewed American military activity in Iraq. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., is backing a “No New War” petition against more military operations in Iraq.

“It’s our blood, and it’s our money, so it should be our decision,” Grayson insisted on Monday.

Grayson is not the only Florida congressman expressing reservations about American military operations in Iraq. Freshman U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., spoke on the matter on Monday and, according to Creative Loafing, says troops should only be used to protect American lives in Iraq.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (8)

Pat Lavins
1:25PM JUN 23RD 2014
No one in the Florida delegation should be allowed to get away with not informing the voters on their views on the Iraq situation. In the 8th Congressional District, the Tea Party incumbent, Bill "Birther" Posey is running his campaign as he has run all his campaigns for elected office. He says nother of substance and only makes public appearances at Republican events. He claims to be an advocate for "accountability" except when it applies to himself.
Pat Lavins
11:30AM JUN 19TH 2014
My goal is to educate more voters every day about what a mistake it would be to give Bill ""Birther" Posey another term.
Pat Lavins
11:24AM JUN 19TH 2014
As usual, Bill "Birther" Posey is silent on a major policy decision. He is awaiting his orders from the Koch Brothers as he always does before actually speaking their words.
C Breeze
7:38AM JUN 19TH 2014
Gosh,.. you "politicos" are Sooo funny around election times (and that's NOT "ha, ha" funny). Think about our veterans for once,...you know, the underpaid, understaffed ones you send to replace yourselves in battles you only "see on TV (Barak)"...and then shortchanged (your representative 'pawns') monetarily, at their VA hospitals, and in every aspect of their support systems. You elitist obfuscating politicians should be ashamed of yourselves...very, very, ashamed!!! If only you could be made to do the battlefield fighting yourselves instead of continuing to waste the "blood & treasure" of America at the hands of an inept President and "toadie" preening General Staff members...
Pat Lavins
11:27AM JUN 19TH 2014
C. Beeze is correct. That there is not enough attention being paid to VA issues. The prime example of neglect of VA issues is found in the voting record of Bill "Birther" Posey over multiple years. He has initiatied ZERO legislation to support the vets. He has voted for ZERO legislation
7:03AM JUN 19TH 2014
Jolly is looking more & more like he's going to follow the Democrats - which he did on gun control
1:06PM JUN 23RD 2014
It doesn't appear that Jolly supports any offensive action, which the Dems have not ruled out.
Pat Lavins
11:29AM JUN 19TH 2014
It is indeed refreshing that Jolly is willing to do the right thing. It is a trait that is very rare in the GOP.

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.