House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to continued calls by Republican for U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq and Syria:
“The incessant call by Republicans for U.S. combat ground forces to be sent into Iraq and Syria is ill-founded and does not comport with reality. We did that before, and it didn’t work. After nearly nine years of conflict, nearly 4,500 dead Americans, and more than $1.5 trillion spent, Iraq is still broken. Why do Republicans want to relive the failed policies of the past?
“Yes, we should support the Iraqis as they fight ISIL, but they must be the boots on the ground in their own country. With our support, they must reach the political and military objectives necessary to stabilize Iraq. Only then can the stability be lasting. For years, we had more than a hundred thousand U.S. troops in Iraq, yet the sectarian conflict raged on. This must be a local effort.
“Similar to Iraq, any U.S. strategy in Syria must continue to guard against U.S combat ground troops getting bogged down in another costly land war in the Middle East. A force is necessary to confront ISIL on the ground, but combat troops must be a domestic force committed to the long-term stability of Syria. We should train, equip and support moderate groups willing to confront Assad and ISIL. We need a capable and willing partner on the ground if we are to be successful in Syria as well as Iraq. But it must be a local force with the support of the local population.”