Saner U.S. Voices Urge Caution on Iraq Response
June 16, 2014 • 5:26PM

While the media is filled with the McCain-Graham chorus's calls for "airstrikes" to "save" Iraq, a counterpoint of saner voices is beginning to emerge. Speaking to an event in San Francisco on Saturday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)— the sole Congressional vote against the Authorization to Use Military Force in the wake of the 9-11 attacks— urged caution, warning that "we don't want history to repeat itself," and that "there is no military solution in Iraq."

This morning, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, speaking on MSNBCs NewsNation, warned Obama against unilateral action. "I urge the president to come to the Congress with specific proposals and recommendations," Blumenthal said. That same point was also made by Chris Edelson, a foreign policy professor at American University. "[E]ven if military action by the U.S. did make sense," Edelson wrote in The Hill, "Obama simply does not possess unilateral authority to act." In fact, "McCain, Graham, Boehner and others in Congress... are ceding their own institutional authority to decide whether the nation should go to war... the question would not be whether Obama will act alone, but, rather, whether Congress will provide statutory authority for action."

Center for Strategic and International Studies's Anthony Cordesman urged caution, telling TIME magazine that, while ISIS's movements, specificly supply lines and inter-city expansion operations might present target opportunities, "We don't want to conduct urban bombing." The same article quoted retired four-star General Anthony Zinni noting that even so-called "sanitary" (no American blood) air strikes would require "boots on the ground," in the form of spotters, and ground intelligence, saying, "You could put [U.S.] Special Forces on the ground with the Iraqis to advise them and get frontline intelligence and to control air strikes."

Addressing this exact point, Ron Paul warned that "the administration does not consider Special Forces or the CIA to be 'boots on the ground'." Reminding readers that Bush was threatened with impeachment for his actions in Iraq, Paul ended with an emotional appeal, saying, "Haven't we already done enough damage?"