Boehner backs Obama’s Iraq deployment

Francis Rivera

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday endorsed President Obama’s decision to send more than 400 additional trainers to Iraq to train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“It’s a step in the right direction, but as the president admitted the other day, he has no strategy to win. … This is another tactical move,” Boehner said during a Capitol Hill press conference, referring to Obama’s remark this week that the U.S. does not have a “complete strategy” for fighting ISIS.

The comments have sparked a uproar on Capitol Hill, with Republicans slamming the president’s handling of Iraq and Democrats openly questioning the purpose of the ten-month-old bombing campaign against ISIS.

“I support the tactical move the president’s taking, but where’s the overarching strategy to deal with state — the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the region, Iran, and to deal with ISIL and all of their related groups?” Boehner added, using the other common acronym for the group.

In a statement, White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced Wednesday that the president had authorized the deployment of 450 additional trainers to Iraq who will work to build up the local armed forces.

“This effort will complement the ‎efforts of U.S. and coalition trainers at the four previously-established training sites in Al-Asad, Besmaya, Erbil, and Taji, where over 9,000 Iraqi troops have already been trained, with an additional 3,000 currently in training,” Earnest said. 

“These additional U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role and will augment the 3,100 U.S. troops who have already deployed to Iraq,” he added.

Obama’s moves came at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has pleaded with the U.S. and its coalition partners for more military and intelligence backing in combating the terrorist group.

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