CT lawmakers have little appetite for U.S. involvement in Iraq

Washington – Most lawmakers are urging caution on how the United States should react to an insurgency by Muslim radicals in Iraq, and members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation are no exception.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was the first in the delegation to weigh in on the rapidly moving events in Iraq, where the nation’s military is fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, an al-Qaeda spinoff. Murphy has consistently opposed U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

“What is happening in Iraq now is awful, but it is a consequence of our invasion, not our withdrawal,” Murphy said in a tweet on Friday morning.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-5th District, also expressed his sentiments through Twitter.

“It is not our fight. Have no dog,” Himes’ tweet said.

But Republicans are criticizing President Obama.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama has been “taking a nap.”

“The president has celebrated our exit from Iraq as the hallmark of his foreign policy agenda,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference. “But our focus should be instead on completing our mission successfully. And I would urge the president once again to get engaged before it’s too late.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said “I oppose deployment of American troops in Iraq or other prolonged and extensive American military engagement,” but he did not rule out supporting airstrikes or other options the White House is considering.

“I urge the president to provide specific proposals for action addressing the deteriorating situation in Iraq and protecting American interests and any American citizens in harm’s way. What’s needed now is leadership by the President to present realistic options and recommendations to Congress,” Blumenthal said.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, also urged caution and said she is “monitoring this horrible situation closely.”

“We need to know more before we can discuss what response – if any – is appropriate to protect America’s national security interests,” Esty said. “The current crisis is tragic reminder of the limits and consequences of military intervention. This is not a time for partisan finger-pointing, but a time for a sober and serious assessment of our options.”

Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, said he’d thinks the United States should stay out of the conflict, unless Obama can convince Congress there’s a need for that involvement and that  U.S.allies are a part of the plan. .

“I appreciated his caution…I want him to come before Congress,” Larson said.

On Friday, Obama said “we will not be sending U.S. troops into combat in Iraq.”

But he said “the United States will do its part” and that he has asked his national security team to come up with a list of options that he will review in the coming days.

Congressional opposition to an aggressive U.S. reaction to insurgency in Iraq could blunt Obama’s ability to move decisively or swiftly, as it did when the White House was contemplating taking action against Syria last year.  But the president does not need Congress’ approval to call for airstrikes or even send in troops.

As the militants, backed by Sunni tribal leaders, pushed toward Baghdad Friday, Iran, which has a rival Shiite Muslim majority, sent troops to fight alongside beleaguered Iraqi government forces

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