- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for deepening U.S. involvement in Iraq, including sending heavy weapons to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and deploying more American military air power and special operations teams.

He said that could even include ground troops.

“We need to have all of our options open,” the governor said, addressing the Heritage Foundation in a policy address slated to focus on the border but which Mr. Perry instead turned into a foreign policy critique.

The Republican said policymakers cannot be trapped by questions of history, including the wisdom of the 2003 invasion or Iraq under President George W. Bush, the withdrawal of troops in 2011 under President Obama, or the limited aid the U.S. offered Syrian rebels. Instead, he called for a bipartisan consensus that the U.S. must take a stand.

“Just about the last thing we want to think about is more conflict in Iraq and what that might involve. But we’d better get on top of this crisis by any means necessarily,” he said.

He called Mr. Obama’s approach to Syria “an opinion, not a policy,” and said the U.S must take the threats from the Islamic State, which goes by the acronym ISIS, seriously — including the possibility they would exploit the southern border to try to place terrorists in the country.

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“Individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be, and I think is a very real possibility that they may already have, used that,” Mr. Perry said. “We have no clear evidence of that but your common sense tells you, when we’ve seen the number of criminal activities that have occurred … the idea that they would not be looking at and managing any of those types of attacks from that region is not a good place to be.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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