Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg criticized the Trump administration for sending 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, telling ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday that "escalation is the last thing we need" and we have "learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict" in the region.
The South Bend, Indiana mayor also said President Donald Trump's strategy regarding Iran seems to be "driven as much by domestic politics as it is by national security imperatives."
Although Buttigieg acknowledged the sending of the additional troops was also based on intelligence and a request from Central Command for increased force protection, he insisted the United States already has "the means to protect our assets in the Middle East" and "our national security policy has to be to avoid escalation in the Persian Gulf."
He also conceded "there is clearly a pattern of misbehavior and provocation by the Iranians that goes back in different ways across my entire lifetime," but he emphasized the administration's strategy appears to be driven by National Security Adviser John Bolton, "one of the architects of the Iraq War, [who] is continuing to try to prosecute a case to lead to higher tensions, escalation, and perhaps conflict with Iran as though we learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict . . . in the Middle East."