O’Malley: Islamic State rise unintended result from war rush

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks with reporters in Myrtle Beach in February.

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley said Friday the rise of the Islamic State group was an unintended consequence of a “mindless rush to war” in Iraq, and said the U.S. must avoid “mission creep” there and work with the government as it seeks to defend its country.

In a speech to the Truman National Security Project, the former Maryland governor said the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. was one of the most tragic and costly blunders in U.S. history. He made no mention of his Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who faced criticism during her 2008 presidential campaign for her Senate vote in favor of the 2003 invasion.

“No threat probably better illustrates the unintended consequences of a mindless rush to war — and a lack of understanding — than the emergence of ISIS,” O’Malley said in his first foreign policy address as a presidential candidate.

He added: “We are still paying the price of a war pursued under false pretenses and acquiesced to, in the words of Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) by ‘the appalling silence of the good.’ “

O’Malley said American foreign and national security policies are directly connected to economic stability around the globe and a rising global middle class. He said the U.S. faces an array of threats, from violent extremism and nuclear proliferation, to pandemics and cyberattacks.

He trails Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the early stages of the Democratic primary campaign. On foreign policy particularly, O’Malley will need to campaign against Clinton, who as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state for four years traveled around the world.