Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy Monday pushed his campaign to bar American ground troops from the U.S. fight against ISIS by pressing for a Senate amendment that would prohibit the Pentagon from putting boots on the ground.
He was joined as a sponsor by Connecticut’s senior senator, Richard Blumenthal.
Murphy is trying to include the ban on ground troops in the U.S. efforts to battle Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria in the Senate’s $612 billion National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that would authorize Pentagon spending in the next fiscal year.
But he conceded the measure may not be very popular with his colleagues. Nor has he been assured of a vote on the legislation by Senate leaders.
Murphy said fellow senators may be “uncomfortable” with the idea of voting on the ban, but the time has come for Congress to tackle the issue.
“We’ve been avoiding this debate for a year,” Murphy said
Fellow Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Tom Udall of New Mexico also joined as sponsors.
Murphy said approval of the amendment “can affirm that we’ve learned our lesson from more than a decade of wars in the Middle East. “
That, Murphy said, includes the deaths of 5,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the spending of $1 trillion in taxpayers money.
“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,” Murphy said. “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.”
A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Murphy said he is also pressing to include his ban on ground troops in the State Department authorization bill.