House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview aired Sunday that the U.S. may need to commit ground troops to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), despite widespread opposition at home to putting American boots back on the ground in Iraq.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s gonna take more than air strikes to drive [ISIS] outta there,” Boehner told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “At some point, somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
Boehner went on to say that if the United States can’t train sufficient forces to secure the region or find allies willing to commit enough ground troops, he would recommend sending American troops. “We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re gonna pay the price,” the Speaker said.
More than 70% of U.S. soldiers oppose committing to combat operations in Iraq, according to a recent poll, and a CNN poll released earlier this month showed that 61% of Americans oppose placing U.S. troops in Iraq. President Obama has repeatedly pledged there will be no ground troops used in Iraq.
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John Miller told ABC that “progress [is] being made” with the current strategy of using airstrikes combined with Kurdish and Iraqi troops, mentioning the recapture of the Mosul dam, reinforcing the Haditha dam and securing Baghdad, as well as Sinjar mountain, among others.