Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and House minority leader, argued today that the United States should never deploy combat troops to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Ms. Pelosi, speaking at a New York Law School panel in Manhattan where she covered a range of topics, said America’s conflict with ISIS, an extremist organization that has conquered territory in Iraq and Syria, is a consequence of the Iraq War and the U.S. must not make the same “mistake” of sending more combat troops to the region.
“I will not vote for troops on the ground. Let me state it another way: combat troops on the ground in Iraq, we cannot go down that path. There’s no evidence it will even work,” Ms. Pelosi said.
Ms. Pelosi, once the speaker of the House, reiterated that she supported President Barack Obama’s plan to expand the use of airstrikes against the Islamic militants. In a speech last week, Mr. Obama promised the U.S. “will degrade, and ultimately destroy, [ISIS] through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
Liberal Democrats and some Republicans have called for authorization from Congress before Mr. Obama pulls the nation further into the Middle Eastern crisis. Tomorrow, the House will vote on whether to grant Mr. Obama the authority to train and equip Syrian rebels to battle ISIS.
“I think the president has the authority to do what he is doing now. We have said if he go beyond a certain point, we will need a future reauthorization and that can be soon or not depending on what actions the president takes,” Ms. Pelosi explained.
While she spoke at the panel, where she also promoted her 2008 book, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that he would recommend deploying American combat forces against ISIS in specific operations if airstrikes were not successful, potentially leading to the sort of military escalation Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi oppose.
For Ms. Pelosi, diplomacy is the answer.
“It’s not just the United States fighting ISIS. It’s the world, whether that’s NATO countries or, in addition to that, the powers in the region anteing up to help in that fight,” she said. “And if there a need to be combat troops on the ground, they should not be combat troops of the United States of America. We have paid so much for that.”