- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III West Virginia said he’s not on board with President Obama’s request to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels as part of the plan to combat the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

“I am willing to vote — I will vote no, absolutely no, and stand tall in West Virginia to explain my vote, why I vote no to arm, to train, to spend $500 million on Syrian rebels who I don’t know who they are, what they’re going to do, and if they’re ever going to be loyal to America,” Mr. Manchin said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

He pointed to the United States’ effort over the past decade in Iraq and the prospect of arms falling into the wrong hands and ultimately being used against U.S. troops.

Mr. Manchin said he’d vote in favor of air support and technical support, but not for boots on the ground or arming and training the rebels.

“I do not believe any way, shape or form that we should be over there trying to pick sides of who we’re going to arm, who we’re going to train,” he said.

In addition to sending more military advisers to the region, arming the rebels and increasing airstrikes in Iraq are part of Mr. Obama’s plan to combat the terrorist organization that the president recently outlined to the nation.

The U.S. on Monday announced that it launched airstrikes near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad, with the strike near Baghdad going to support the effort for Iraqi forces in the area.

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