U.S. Senator Jack Reed defends President Barack Obama's campaign of air strikes against militants in Iraq amid Republican criticism. Vanessa Johnston reports.
As militants threaten religious minorities in Iraq, lawmakers in Washington are wrangling over how to respond. Last week, Obama launched a campaign of U.S. air strikes and humanitarian air drops in the north, where Islamic State militants -- formerly known as ISIL or ISIS -- are threatening religious minorities. He also insisted that sending U.S. ground troops was off the table. Republicans have slammed Obama's intervention as ineffective, and are calling for a more aggressive approach. But speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation", Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, Jack Reed, backed the president. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC SENATOR JACK REED FROM RHODE ISLAND SAYING: "Well, what has been accomplished is, we have been able to destroy some heavy artillery that ISIS has that is threatening Kurdish forces. We have also been able to disrupt their lines of communication, some of the convoys." Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, said that the U.S. should never have pulled out its troops in the first place. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ JAMES JEFFREY SAYING: "We would have had a better equipped Iraqi army. We would have had better eyes on, on what the problem was, we would have been able to do certain counterterrorism operations. But most importantly, it's psychological. We would have still had a stake in that country and we would have cared for what Maliki was doing and we would have had more leverage to change it." Obama wound down the war in Iraq and pulled out U.S. troops in 2011. Islamic State forces have been capturing parts of northern Iraq since June.