Hanabusa questions Obama’s plans in Iraq

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) said she wouldn’t support sending more troops into Iraq until President Obama outlines a clear strategy.

“We cannot afford to continue to push the envelope of our involvement without a clear and meaningful discussion of our real intentions and the actual risks we are undertaking,” Hanabusa said Tuesday. “What is our strategy, what are our intentions, and what risks are we exposing our troops to? Unless and until we achieve clarity on those points, we run the risk of repeating past mistakes.”

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Hanabusa’s comments came after Obama announced he would send an additional 200 troops to Iraq to combat a violent insurgency from the extremist militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The administration had already sent 300 military advisers to Iraq to assist government security forces.

“We are rapidly approaching 1,000 troops on the ground in what the Pentagon admits is a ‘contested environment,’” Hanabusa said. “I think we face a very real possibility that our troops and equipment will quickly find themselves in the middle of a battle situation, and the distinction between ‘security’ and ‘combat’ will be one of semantics only.”

In addition to the troops, the Pentagon said it is sending helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to increase security.

Hanabusa is running against Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) for Senate in the state where Obama grew up.