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Senator Schatz Helps Introduce Amendment to Ban Deployment of American Ground Troops to Iraq & Syria

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent the United States from sending American ground troops to engage in the fight against ISIL in Iraq or Syria.  U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) is an original cosponsor of the amendment along with Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). 

“ISIL is a group of barbaric terrorists and their extreme tactics display a shocking brutality that must be stopped.  But as we have seen from past conflicts, sending American ground troops into the region will not bring peace to a conflict that demands a political solution,” said Senator Schatz.  “Our amendment makes clear that the United States needs a strategy for combating ISIL, but that strategy cannot include putting more Americans in harm’s way.  We must continue to work with our partners and allies in the region to find a political end to this conflict.”

“By passing this commonsense amendment, the Senate can affirm that we’ve learned our lesson from more than a decade of wars in the Middle East. The misguided war in Iraq not only resulted in nearly 5,000 American deaths, cost American taxpayers $1 trillion, and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis—it directly created the conditions that led to the Islamic State’s rise, and provided our enemies with the propaganda they needed to recruit more terrorists than we could kill,”
said Senator Murphy. “We must do everything within our power to aid our allies in the fight against ISIS – including recognizing the fact that the presence of American ground troops cannot solve every problem. I urge my colleagues to support my amendment.”

Earlier today, Senators Schatz and Murphy, along with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), introduced a set of new, forward-looking foreign policy principles to guide America’s role as a global leader in the 21st Century. The principles, as laid out in an op-ed published in Foreign Affairs, provide a clear alternative to the limited perspectives that often dominate American foreign policy conversations in the United States Senate.