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Possible Military Action in Iraq and Syria: What questions must be answered before America goes to war?

Statement of Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, in response to President Obama’s speech to the nation:

Few if any decisions a country makes are as consequential as the decision to go to war. Such a decision must not be taken lightly, or made in haste.

We remember well the lives lost and damage done by the ill-gotten, ill-informed rush to war in Iraq in 2003. Many of the same people who drove us to war then are the ones rattling sabers now.

While we appreciate President Obama’s commitment to avoid sending troops into combat, his proposed approach poses significant risks, including escalation and unintended consequences, such as boosting violent extremism and terrorist recruitment. There is the risk of a quagmire. The White House says this new war could last for three years — or longer.

Because of the broad, extended, and open-ended nature of this proposed expansion of U.S. military force in the Middle East, before moving forward Congress and the American public must play a role, ask the tough questions, and consider a comprehensive list of sound alternatives.

Bottom line: Congress and the American people must have a full, vigorous, and open debate before the U.S. embarks upon another war in the Middle East.