Iraq Plan Background and Overview
For the past two years, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) has spoken about the need to defeat ISIS and prevent its potential successors from taking root. He has conducted an extensive review of U.S. policies in Iraq, including three oversight visits to Iraq as a member of the House Armed Services Committee to meet with military generals, top foreign policy leaders, and our troops on the ground.
In his recent Op-Ed in The Washington Post, Moulton wrote:
In April, I visited some of the almost 5,000 troops that President Obama has put back in Iraq, and I witnessed a recurring theme: We have a military plan to defeat the Islamic State — and, as initial gains in Fallujah this week demonstrate, it’s going well in many respects — but we have yet to articulate a political plan to ensure Iraq’s long-term stability.
This September during a speech at the United States Institute of Peace, Congressman Moulton released his four-part political plan to secure peace and long-term stability in Iraq. Moulton outlined his strategy and the specific direction that he hopes to see the Obama Administration and future Administrations take in order to defeat ISIS, stabilize the Middle East, and allow our troops to return home for good.
“The fundamental problem in Iraq and Syria is political, not military,” said Moulton. “Although it’s devolved to the point where our military involvement is necessary, the only long-term solution that can allow our troops to return home for good must be political in nature.”
Moulton has made four key policy recommendations:
- Define our desired political end state
- Enable political reforms
- Condition further military support on political progress
- Provide authorization and funding for Iraq’s future
Read Congressman Moulton’s Iraq Plan, here.
Watch Congressman Moulton announce his Iraq Plan at the United States Institute of Peace, below.
Top Military and Foreign Policy Leaders Back Moulton’s Iraq Plan
Support for Congressman Seth Moulton’s Iraq Plan continues to grow. Several top military and foreign policy leaders have come out with their strong support for Congressman Moulton’s Iraq Plan, including U.S. Army General, David Petraeus, Former Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright, and United States Institute of Peace President, Nancy Lindborg. Congressman Moulton will continue to meet with top Administration officials and other key foreign policy leaders in the coming weeks to talk about his strategy to secure long-term peace and stability in Iraq.
Below are several reactions to Congressman Moulton’s Iraq Plan:
U.S. Army General, David Petraeus
“The proposal for U.S. policy in Iraq developed by Congressman Seth Moulton is very thoughtful and well-considered – and it deserves serious examination by policy makers as final preparations are made for the defeat of ISIS in the “Land of the Two Rivers.” While I do have some reservations about the proposal to cut off arms sales to Iraq in the absence of desired political reforms, that component of Seth’s plan nonetheless warrants careful consideration, as it gets at the heart of the most important issues – political ones. As I have argued recently in the Washington Post, there is no question about the importance of the need to sort out governance issues before the final operations are launched, and Moulton’s proposal properly stresses that point. I was privileged to have Seth work directly for me in the field during both my three and four-star tours in Iraq; his accomplishments were hugely impressive, and his proposal clearly reflects his experiences from those tours, as well as from his more recent experiences on the House Armed Services Committee. Based on those experiences, he correctly observes that military successes are only as good as the corresponding political follow-through. Without adopting the bulk of his recommendations, we may well find that the successes in the months ahead are followed by political conflict that result in planting the seeds of ISIS 3.0.” – General David Petraeus
Former Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright
“Congressman Moulton has put forward a thoughtful roadmap for U.S. Policy in Iraq that merits further discussion in Congress and the Executive Branch. Iraq’s security and stability are important to the United States, and we need a strategy that not only confronts ISIS militarily, but also addresses the root causes of the instability which allowed ISIS to flourish. Congressman Moulton has made an important contribution by outlining such a strategy.” – Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright
United States Institute of Peace President, Nancy Lindborg
“Congressman Moulton’s comments come at a really critical time. Even though he’s only in his first congressional term, Congressman Seth Moulton has already emerged as a leading voice on Iraq policy on Capitol Hill. He has the experience of working alongside Iraqis to ensure stability in the country, and he has that on the ground understanding of the complexities that one encounters. I appreciate the Congressman’s emphasis on the need for the political solution, especially the need for reconciliation between the tribes, the factions, and the ethnicities.” – United States Institute of Peace President, Nancy Lindborg
Relevant Press Coverage
Interview on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper: Rep. Moulton, ‘U.S. Isn’t Firing on All Cylinders,’ video
Interview on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper: Democratic Congressman Blasts Obama’s ISIS Strategy, video
Op-Ed in the Washington Post: Get Ready for Another Iraq War, by Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Press Release: Moulton to Propose Four Key Areas Obama Administration and Future Administrations Must Focus on for Success in Iraq
Press Release: Moulton Releases his Plan for Obama Administration and Future Administrations to Succeed in Iraq
USIP article: Congressman Moulton Lays Out Plan to ‘Secure the Peace’ Amid Fight Against ISIS, by Fred Strasser
WGBH Radio: Moulton on the Jim and Margery Show Discussing his Iraq Plan
WGBH News piece: Moulton Aims to Spur Iraq Thinking, by David Bernstein
Wilmington Patch article: Moulton Criticizes Plans to Send Additional Troops to Iraq, by Ethan Forman
Lynn Daily Item article: Moulton Against Obama’s Latest Troop Deployment, by Tom Grillo
Salem News article: Moulton Reacts to Troop Bump Up in Iraq, by Ethan Forman
Newburyport Daily News article: Moulton Concerned About Iraq Troop Bump, by Ethan Forman
Task and Purpose article: This Marine Turned Congressman Has a Plan to Save Iraq from ISIS, by James Clark
Social Media Response: #IraqPlan
Search on social media using the hashtag #IraqPlan to find other comments on and reactions to Moulton’s Iraq Plan.
Moulton’s Congressional Delegation Visits to Iraq Informed His Plan to Secure Long-Term Peace
Congressman Moulton has conducted an extensive review of U.S. policies in Iraq over the past two years, including three oversight visits to Iraq as a member of the House Armed Services Committee to meet with military generals, top foreign policy leaders, and our troops on the ground. These congressional delegation trips throughout the Middle East have enabled Moulton to review our national defense capabilities firsthand as our military works to defeat ISIS and other threats. In meetings with U.S. and foreign leaders, Moulton also worked to strengthen strategic relationships with our regional allies, partnerships that are critical to protecting our service members and promoting stability in the Middle East. These congressional delegation trips to meet with foreign leaders and visit our troops have informed Moulton’s Iraq Plan.
After returning from a CoDel in April 2016, Moulton said:
“We met with the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who carry out our policy everyday on the frontline. The visit reaffirmed my view that our military is doing an excellent job in the fight against ISIS, but we do not have a long-term political plan to ensure the peace – and ensure that our military’s heroic efforts won’t be in vain.”
Below are several pictures from his CoDel visit in June 2016. To read his travel log, visit his Medium account, here.