By Kyle Balluck - 08/10/14 11:29 AM EDT
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) on Sunday said targeted U.S. airstrikes in Northern Iraq were having an impact on militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I think these targeted strikes are very effective,” he said.
The Kurds in northern Iraq are “very aggressive,” Reed said, adding that they will be able to “stabilize the situation in the north” with U.S. support.
Reed said that protecting American interests in the region with targeted airstrikes is critical. A second dimension at work, however, is political, he added.
“And that is making sure that the Iraqi government reorganizes itself so it can successfully use all the resources it has, and it has significant resources, to stabilize the situation and then begin with Iraqi forces to push back on ISIS.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has politicized the military and “militarized the politics,” Reed said. “That has to be reversed.”
“While the Iraqis are trying to put their house in order, literally, and resume the fight, we can provide some limited support to deter, particularly up in Kurdistan, ISIS,” Reed added.
“But ultimately, this has to be a political strategy that takes place in Baghdad, not in Washington.”
Earlier Sunday, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) defended President Obama’s renewed military campaign in Iraq, but said the mission must not be open ended.
Cardin said the targeted strikes near the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil were justified to “prevent a genocide” at the hands of ISIS fighters now holding thousands of refugees under siege on Mount Sinjar.
“What we will not do is become the Iraqi Air Force,” Cardin said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." “Obviously we got to be extremely concerned that we’re not drawn into that type of military action.”
—Ben Goad contributed to this report.