- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, said Tuesday that if elected president he would advocate for a “permanent” U.S. military presence in the Middle East, saying American military might is the only way to curb instability.

“The mission to target bin Laden would have been impossible without a U.S. troop mission in Afghanistan,” Mr. Rubio said in an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.

Mr. Rubio said prematurely pulling troops out of Iraq allowed internal politics to take over, giving former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki free rein to persecute Sunni Muslims, who in turn welcomed jihadist militants as liberators.

“If the U.S. had had a presence, we would have had more leverage over how Maliki conducted his affairs, you would have had a more stable region, but also a place where you could conduct operations against other threats in the region,” Mr. Rubio said.

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