Congressman and Iraq War veteran Chris Gibson is not supporting the authorization of air strikes on terrorists in Northern Iraq by President Obama. A prepared statement from his office is below:
Washington, DC - Congressman Chris Gibson released the following statement on the situation in Iraq and the President's announcement authorizing air strikes:
"The U.S. should not be escalating action in Iraq. While I support humanitarian assistance to religious minorities in Northern Iraq, beyond that the U.S. role should be focused on diplomatic support as they form a new government, as required by their Constitution following their recent April election.
"We have considerable leverage to influence Iraq to form an inclusive government that respects minorities and follows the rule of law. These are the decisive factors to a viable, secure and flourishing Iraq.
"Our leverage, among other factors, includes providing military supplies to support the Iraqi armed forces. The Iraqi Air Force - both fixed wing and rotary-wing - is capable of successfully executing air strikes of their own with material support from the U.S.
"As a condition of providing that support, we must expect political change in Iraq. Military aid is important to help Iraq defeat ISIL but without political reconciliation no amount of military aid will hold that country together. Direct U.S. military involvement in Iraq undermines political reconciliation. The empowerment of Iraqi Armed Forces defending a people united behind its government is the only way forward.
"With the Administration's latest statement authorizing U.S. air strikes, I'm concerned that we could potentially re-Americanize this conflict. We should not be conducting air strikes nor should U.S. advisers be involved in combat or imminent threat of combat."