Dem warns ISIS fight could lead to another Vietnam

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) on Tuesday drew a direct comparison between the U.S. military footprint in Iraq to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Moulton argued that the fight against ISIS could be a "slippery slope," just like the maneuvering that led the United States into the long conflict in Vietnam.

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“I mean, right now we put military advisers in Iraq. I was a military adviser 10 years ago. When the Iraqi unit that we were advising started to get overrun by the militia, we went to their assistance and that started some of the most brutal fighting of the Iraq War until that time,” Moulton, a Marine Corps veteran who served four tours in Iraq, said during an interview Tuesday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

A “military advisory mission can quickly become a ground combat mission. Let's not forget, the Vietnam War started as a military advisory mission,” he added.

The U.S. has 2,655 military advisers in Iraq right now.

Moulton weighed in as the White House seeks congressional approval for President Obama’s authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The resolution prevents Obama from the use of “enduring offensive ground combat operations," but that language has been criticized as too vague by many on the left.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBiden leads CNN poll, but Harris, Sanders on the rise Beto is the poor man's Obama — Dems can do better Joe Biden could be a great president, but can he win? MORE on Tuesday explained that enduring means “weeks and weeks of combat.”

The debate on a new AUMF has taken on greater significance as the U.S. military readies to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces attempt to retake Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from ISIS as early as April or May. 

Moulton, who visited Iraq last week along with other members of the House Armed Services Committee, said “it's incredibly frustrating to see how much of our effort has gone to waste.”

“Those of us who fought there for years, especially during the surge, really putting things back on track are now looking at a country that is rife with terrorists, a government that people don't trust, and we're looking at having to go back there again,” he added.

Moulton, who has gone on record against the president’s AUMF, said his chief concern is that “there is no long-term political strategy to insure that whatever military effort we have today won't be in vain.”

“What I want to make sure is that even if we're able to defeat ISIS militarily, we don't have to go back there three or four years down the road just to do it again against ISIS or some other group that might crop up in the political vacuum left by a dysfunctional Iraqi state,” he said.