May 04, 2016

Unanswered Questions about Yet Another War in the Middle East


TO: Editors, Editorial Writers & Reporters
FROM: Congresswoman Barbara Lee
DATE: May 4th, 2016
RE: Unanswered questions about yet another war in the Middle East

Every day, the U.S. mission in Iraq and Syria creeps closer and closer toward all-out war. Most recently, the President and Pentagon announced that hundreds more troops will be deployed to Iraq and Syria.

As more American troops are headed to fight another open-ended war in the Middle East, many questions remain unanswered:

  1. Since 1991, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars, dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs and lost thousands of brave servicemen and women in Iraq. Do you feel any safer? Are we any safer?
  2. The last four U.S. Presidents have bombed Iraq. Will Congress allow a fifth President the same blank check to continue this open-ended war?
  3. How many Americans or associated military personnel are actually in Iraq and Syria? How many contractors? How many sneakers on the ground?
  4. For 25 years, the Pentagon has pursued a “bombs, bombs, bombs” agenda in the Middle East. Why will it be successful this time? Why hasn’t the Pentagon made the case that more bombings will bring stability and security?
  5. ISIL is an heir to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Do we have a plan to support the needed political reforms in Iraq and Syria that will prevent an ISIL heir from emerging?
  6. For months, the U.S. has been training and equipping different factions.  Do we know who these individuals are? Can we guarantee that their training and new weapons won’t be used against U.S. troops or our interests? How much does this program cost?
  7. In January, both Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell called for an AUMF debate and vote. Why have neither moved anything to the Floor? Why have they decided to take potshots at the President for their own inaction and inability to control their caucuses?


Congresswoman Barbara Lee is the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force, a Congressional representative to the 68th and 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.