Sen. Walsh questions decision to send more soldiers to Iraq

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) on Tuesday criticized President Obama’s plan to deploy an additional 200 troops to Iraq to help quell the violent insurgency there.

“A continued escalation of U.S. commitment in Iraq is troubling,” Walsh, the Senate’s lone Iraq War veteran, said in a statement. “The president has promised to prevent ‘mission creep.’ But how many Americans will we deploy? How much money will we spend?”

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Walsh, who served in the region from 2004-2005, has been critical of his fellow lawmakers for their “abrupt” calls for U.S. military intervention in Iraq following the ground gains made by extremist militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The group has captured huge chunks of territory in recent weeks and has declared an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the parts of Iraq it now controls.

The administration’s latest troop announcement came roughly a week after the president said he would deploy 300 military advisers to Iraq to assist government security forces.

Roughly 750 U.S. soldiers are in the country, according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

In comments similar to ones he made in a recent Senate floor speech, Walsh asked: “How long until we demand the Iraqi people stand up and defend their own government?”

He said Montanans “deserve transparency and answers.”