RICHMOND, Va. — Libertarian senatorial candidate Robert Sarvis demands that President Barack Obama gets congressional approval before the U.S. expands its military involvement in Iraq and Syria. Sarvis, who is running against U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, wants the U.S. to play a smaller role in the region and asks Middle Eastern countries to deal with the terrorists threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) themselves.
“The United States shouldn’t get involved in a war without congressional authorization,” Sarvis said. “So the first thing that should happen is a congressional debate and vote.”
Sarvis added that the military strikes so far have led to unintended consequences.
“If you look at the beheadings that happened, and the beheadings are what galvanized American opinion to go get further involved. Those beheadings didn’t happen until we started bombing them, and they’re a response to the fact that the United States was bombing them,” he said.
Sarvis’ statement comes after recent U.S. airstrikes against ISIS. Both of his opponents are also asking for an authorization of military force by the U.S. Congress, but have indicated that they would be supporting military action. Sarvis, however, believes Middle Eastern countries should be handling the ISIS threat themselves, because they have more knowledge of the situation.
“They have the incentive and the immediate danger from the threat,” Sarvis said. “So they should be the ones who are taking the lead and it’s not our role to make ourselves part of the bombing campaign.”
Sarvis believes that U.S. public opinion was swayed by the recent beheadings of soldiers, an aid worker and two journalists. He said this is what caused more Americans to support further involvement. But Sarvis urged the U.S. to pay close attention to the consequences of entering another war in the Middle East.
“They often get us embroiled far more deeply than we want to be,” Sarvis said. “It often just leads to blow back where we’re pushing more people into the arms of terrorists and people who hate America.”
This story was reported by the “iPadJournos” mobile and social media journalism project, a cooperation between WTVR.com and VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture.