The Corner

Rubio: If Elected President, I’d ‘Absolutely’ Keep Permanent Military Presence in Middle East

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq just months after the U.S. withdrawal from that nation has convinced Marco Rubio of the importance of an American presence in the Middle East — and if he becomes president, the Florida senator promises there will always be one.

A probable Republican candidate for the White House in 2016, Rubio spoke with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto about the challenges facing the United States’ ongoing military campaign against the jihadist army in Iraq and Syria.

“If you ever became president — if you ever had the interest, senator — would you advocate a permanent U.S. troop presence in the region? Permanent,” Cavuto asked.

“Absolutely,” Rubio replied, explaining that the United States could never have targeted bin Laden without troops in Afghanistan and — more important – how the withdrawal of U.S. troops created “fertile ground” for an Iraqi abuse of power and the resultant rise of Sunni fundamentalism in the nation’s tribal west and north. 

“So I’m not saying 100,000 troops,” the senator said. “But certainly some level that allows us to project power quickly and confront challenges and threats.”

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