Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) said his colleagues in Congress are “too abrupt” in calling for a return of U.S. military action in Iraq.

“I believe it is time for the Iraqis to secure their own nation,” Walsh said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “America cannot afford another Iraq financially or in the human cost.”


Walsh is the Senate’s only Iraq War veteran. He served from 2004-2005 in the region.

An extremist militant group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has taken over several major Iraqi cities, advancing to the outskirts of Baghdad. The administration has sent hundreds of troops to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Republicans have blamed Obama, saying he ended the Iraq War too early. But Walsh called on his colleagues to imagine if it were their own children being sent overseas before taking military action.

“I believe it is now time for the Iraqis to secure and defend their own nation,” Walsh said. “We have a responsibility and that responsibility is to the citizens of this nation. … I’ve seen the cost of war up close.”

Walsh said President Obama should use “extreme caution” as he makes decisions on what the U.S. response will be in the region.