By Kate Tummarello - 06/15/14 01:21 PM EDT
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is warning against military engagement in Iraq as U.S.-trained troops there face anti-government insurgents.
U.S. troops can’t go into the country and change the culture of division and instability, Manchin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Sunday during NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We have not done a good job” of changing the culture, he said. “We are not good at that.”
Manchin pointed to “the horrific price we’ve paid” in Iraq in the hopes of creating stability in the region.
“There’s no will in the Senate … to put boots on the ground” again if the U.S. government doesn’t have accurate intelligence and commitments from the Iraqi government to fight the insurgents.
“Our intelligence has failed us miserably,” he said.
“Until they have the will … to fight and die for their country, we’re not going to be able to be their backbone.”
Manchin said he supports U.S. airstrikes and providing technical support to Iraqi troops, “but I want to make sure our intelligence is accurate before we start doing this,” he said.
Appearing later on the show, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the growing threat of anti-government forces in the Middle East poses a direct threat to the U.S.
“If they can get this sanctuary in the northeast in Syria, in Iraq, this makes it an effective triple-sanctuary to attack the United States,” he said, “apart from the destabilization they can do across the Middle East.”