BuzzFeed: The veterans who served in the last war in Iraq and are now seeking Democratic votes in 2014 have been warning their fellow Democrats this week.
They say even limited steps that put U.S. military forces back in harm’s way in Iraq would be a big mistake with ramifications for the future of Middle East foreign policy — and the Democratic Party’s credibility with its progressive base.
“If we have airstrikes, we’ll kill as many civilians as we do fighters. And that’s not right or effective,” said Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps officer who led forces into combat during four tours of duty in Iraq. “We need to engage this problem. But it needs to be political engagement that comes first.”
Moulton is out of the Marines and running for Congress in Massachusetts, mounting a primary bid against Democratic incumbent Rep. John Tierney. Moulton’s campaign has been endorsed by former Iraq war commanding Gens. Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, but Moulton is quick to say unprompted that the war all three men served in “was a mistake.”
More military engagement in Iraq would be doubling down on that mistake, he said.
“You have to make decisions in the present, you can’t just make decisions based on past mistakes,” Moulton said. “But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the past. We have to be very thoughtful about the long-term effects of our actions.”
Progressives have warned the White House in recent days that a new engagement with Iraq could divide the Democratic base ahead of the 2014 elections, turning the anti-war left against Obama (who in 2008 was the movement’s champion). Moulton said a Democratic split over Iraq could be in the cards if Obama goes ahead with military action.
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