A Democrat lawmaker warned of the potential of nuclear war with Russia after the White House announced plans to send an “exploratory force” to hunt down Islamic State leaders and rescue hostages in Iraq and Syria.
“In full coordination with the Government of Iraq, we’re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on [ISIS],” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
He added that US special forces “bring a unique suite of capabilities that make them force multipliers. Where we find further opportunity to leverage such capability we are prepared to expand it.”
Democrat representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard warned that having U.S. aircraft capable of targeting Russian planes in addition to the administration’s opposition to Russian backed Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad could lead to devastating consequences, the National Review reported.
“Russia’s installation of their anti-aircraft missile-defense system increases that possibility of — whether it’s intentional or even an accidental event — where one side may shoot down the other side’s plane,” she told Carter. “And that’s really where the potential is for this devastating nuclear war.”
Carter contended that the U.S. differences with Russia were merely diplomatic.
“We have a different view, a very different view from Russia about what would be constructive for them to do in Syria,” he told Gabbard. “That’s not the same as the United States and Russia clashing.”
Watch the exchange below.
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