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Peters, Land ‘debate’ at Chaldean American Chamber event

Posted at 2:09 PM, Oct 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-16 14:09:32-04

WEST BLOOMFIELD TWP, Mich. - It was another meeting of Michigan's candidates for U.S. Senate, but it again fell short of the debate many voters in the state have hoped for.

Democratic Rep. Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land participated in a candidate forum during the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce annual business luncheon.

Moderator Charlie Langton questioned the candidates on issues ranging from the threat posed by terror group ISIS, to whether special visas should be provided to Iraqi citizens impacted by the fighting, to potential economic and health care policy reforms.

There was a heavy focus on issues surrounding ISIS and its impact on Iraq.

Chaldeans originate from Iraq and are Eastern Rite Catholic, which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

The candidates were asked to weigh in on whether President Obama's strategy in fighting ISIS is working and working fast enough.

"We would always like to do more," Peters said. "Airstrikes are very important. We've got to continue to do that. We got to bring in other countries...both Western countries, but it's also, in my mind, it's incredibly important that we have Arab-country partners there. "

Land faulted the president for his "failed leadership" on the issue.

"The president has not led on this issue," said Land. "He did not sign the status of forces agreement and keep some of our troops there to train Iraqi troops, so they can protect the border and keep their country safe."

IMG_0268Peters made clear he does not support U.S. forces on the ground, but he said it is important that credible forces are on the ground.

"Sunni troops have to lead this effort," explained Peters. "This cannot be a Western effort. It's gotta be Sunni troops that are there, certainly the Iraqi government and Iraqi military."

Land agreed that more needs to be done with our global partners, but also within the administration, to define a long-term plan for handling the ISIS threat.

"(President Obama) needs to talk to his military advisers," Land explained. "He needs to find out what would be the best plan. We need to get our friends together on this, too."

Peters expressed 'dismay' that initially, Iraqi troops were inefficient when ISIS forces IMG_1466first crossed the border.

"It was frustrating for me given the amount of money we had invested in military and the amount of training that went in there," Peters said. "I think now we have credible forces that can begin to move against ISIL."

Peters has been ahead in polling since late April, according to aggregator Real Clear Politics.