Iraq War Veteran Talks About Current Crisis

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by Will Kennedy
Bio | Email | Follow: @willkennedynews by Photojournalist Chris Keimig

CHARLOTTE, NC -- A heated exchange on Capitol Hill Wednesday over the US response to terrorists in Iraq. President Obama says he'll consult Congress, but doesn't need new Congressional authority to act.

We talked to a Iraqi War veteran, and current Mecklenburg County commissioner, Matthew Ridenhour about the possibility of future US involvement. 

"I was a salty veteran of three weeks in the Marine Corps," says Ridenhour. "I had graduated from boot camp August 24th of 2001."
 
Matthew Ridenhour may be a Mecklenburg County Commissioner now, but he'll always be a Marine.  He was there from the start: the reaction to 9-11, the resulting war and two deployments in Iraq.
 
"We gave our valiant effort. And a lot of people gave their full, last full measure of devotion to the country to try to accomplish something worthy over there," says Ridenhour.
 
Now the former staff sergeant and other veterans of the war in Iraq are watching the work they did fall apart. The Iraqi government is struggling to deal with ISIS, a group of Muslim extremists threatening to undo the efforts from years of American blood, sweat, tears and lives lost.
 
"In hindsight, I do start to question whether it was the right move to make. And that's frustrating to have that feeling," says Ridenhour.
 
"Al Qaida-inspired extremists raising flags over Iraq's embattled cities triggers in me the same thing that runs through the minds of any veteran who served there, which is bitter disappointment that Iraq's leaders failed to unite for the good of their people," says General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
 
The President is meeting with Congressional leaders. The Pentagon is moving more firepower into the region.  All signs point towards US involvement.
 
Matthew Ridenhour feels that involvement won't solve the problems.
 
"I don't know that there is anything else we can really do. Because if we intervene now, we're going to have to intervene again down the road."
 
The White House says President Oobama hasn't ruled out anything except sending US combat troops into Iraq. Airstrikes remain under consideration.
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