Veterans and Austinites protest U.S. involvement in Iraq

AUSTIN -- From the Capitol, down Congress Avenue and back, Members of Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) teamed up with Austinites to spread a message they hope will reach Washington.

"Military option is no option concerning the current crisis in Iraq," said IVAW Board Member Ramon Mejia.

"This is something for the Iraqi people to settle, how they want to live together," added Snehal Shingavi, who was also at the rally.

Iraqi security forces are combating the Jihad extremist ISIS. ISIS have captured Iraq's biggest oil refinery and numerous towns.

The first of 300 U.S. military advisers arrived in Baghdad over the weekend, joining about 300 service members already there to protect the U.S. Embassy. Their risky mission is to advise and train the Iraqis.

Thursday President Obama said U.S. soldiers will not go into combat, but indicated a wait-and-see approach.

"We will be prepared to take targeted precise military if, and when, the situation on the ground requires it."

Iraqi leaders say they need help to fight the militants and have asked the U.S. for air strikes. ABC News Reporter Hamish MacDonald spoke with the Iraqi Foreign Minister.

"America was here for a decade. America spent billions of dollars training your military. They lost countless lives. Why should they come back and do it again," asked MacDonald.

"Because they have a political and moral obligation," answered Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. "We have an agreement with America after they left which I signed, it's called the strategic framework agreement. What say 'whenever that you Iraqi democratic government is threatened America is ready to help.'"

After serving with the Marine Corps in Iraq in 2003, veteran Mejia says American troops are poorly received and he doesn't want to see them in combat.

"We've been there, done that and we don't want no war in Iraq," said Mejia. "I think that a hands-off approach is always the best approach. I think a diplomatic solution is the only solution that should be implemented."

"These issues that are being raised by really hard situations in these countries have not been solved or elevated by sending in more troops or dropping more bombs on these countries," added Shingavi.

Instead, the protesters would like to see the U.S. assemble the international community to help aid in negotiations and focus its energy and money on humanitarian efforts for displaced Iraqis.


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