Senators are demanding more information from the U.S. government after it evacuated all nonessential personnel from Iraq and suggested sending as many as 120,000 troops back into the Middle East, which has been largely left to its own defenses since the drawdowns from the Iraq war.
Citing concerns about violence from Iran, the government seems to be preparing for military action in the country.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) is the ranking democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he demanded that the current administration “immediately provide this committee with a briefing on the decision to order the departure of embassy staff, the intelligence on what Iran may be planning to do and any plans to go to war with Iran.”
Legislators from both sides of the aisle agree. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said, “I hope that either the entire committee or perhaps the chair and the ranking member would be able to have that kind of briefing.”
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said that he’s working on it.
The State Department ordered the departure of all nonessential personnel from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil on May 15. At the same time, it renewed its warning to Americans not to travel to Iraq.
Just prior to the evacuation order, the administration deployed an aircraft carrier strike group as well as bombers to the Middle East – but it only said it was due to a threat that Iran and its proxies posed.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, who is the deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, said there has been no increased threat from Iran. However, U.S. Central Command issued a statement saying that Ghika is wrong.
What Do You Think?
Do you feel that the U.S. should have a bigger military presence in the Middle East, and do you feel the administration should have to explain why? I’d love for you to share your thoughts on this, so join me on Facebook or on Twitter and chime in!