“A lot of people want to blame ISIL on the president, but its not truly his fault,” Johnson said at the Congressional Progressive Caucus forum in Washington, D.C. “He did exactly what needed to be done.”
The forum included Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Jan Schakowski (D-Ill.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) to discuss ISIL and President Obama’s proposed authorization for use of military force.
“But in the process of closing out of the war as we knew it in Afghanistan, after a surge that was caused by military folks who are under civilian control, influencing politicians here in Washington made it almost impossible for the president to avoid an escalation,” said Johnson. “So it was escalated. He set a deadline for de-escalation. He abided by that deadline. Troops have come home. We still have issues in Afghanistan - the Taliban.”
“It is what it is,” Johnson said. “We can leave and leave a place like Iraq, leaving it totally on its own or we can leave a small force of under 10,000 people what is recommended now to aid and assist the Afghans on the ground.”
“And then meanwhile we have the ISIL issue popping off,” said Johnson. “What do we do? Do we do nothing, or do we send in ground troops? Hell no. Do we support other nations, even the nation of Iran as it seeks to confront the ISIL threat? Do we assist them in handling it themselves and supply some air cover? Certainly that is a reasonable manner of proceeding in my view,” said Johnson.