Kerry: 'We're Not Looking to Put Troops on the Ground...At This Moment, Anyway'

By | September 15, 2014 | 4:55am EDT

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

( - Asked if the United States has found any country "that is willing to put troops on the ground" in Syria and Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, "Well, we're not looking to put boots on the ground. There are some who have offered to do so. But we are not looking for that, at this moment, anyway."

President Obama has said the effort to defeat ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria will not involve American "boots on the ground." Obama says other countries must step up.

Schieffer asked Kerry, "Do you really think you can destroy ISIL without troops on the ground? I mean, how does that work?"

"Bob, there are troops on the ground that don't belong to us. They're called Syrian," Kerry responded.

"The Syrian opposition is on the ground. And one of the regrettable things is, it has been fighting ISIL by itself over the course of the last couple of years. And it's one of the reasons that they have had a difficult battle. And now with the air support and other effort from other countries, they will be augmented in their capacity.

"One of the things the president put in the plan is the effort to increase the training, increase the equipping and advising to that -- to the Syrian opposition. And I can't tell you whether some other country in the neighborhood will or won't decide to put some people in there. We know the United States is not going to do that.

"But, as I say, this is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they're prepared to do. But I want it to be absolutely clear out of this discussion we're having that every single aspect of the president's strategy and what is needed to be done in order to accomplish our goal has been offered by one country or multiple countries, and all bases are covered."

Also appearing on "Face the Nation," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he agrees that it's up to "Sunni moderates" and Arabs to fight the ground war against Sunni extremists.

McCaul said he met with the leader of Jordan a few days ago, and "he is ready today to put his troops into Syria to fight ISIS. So, I don't know why we wouldn't consider that option of all the Arab nations. And, also, I know he met in Cairo with Egypt. They have a very strong military that we could try to advance the argument to put them in that area."

McCaul said the White House showed no "urgency" about the ISIS terror threat until two Americans (and now a British subject) were beheaded; he said ISIS "doesn't fit"  into the "narrative" of this anti-war president; and he said he thinks it's "important" for Congress to vote to authorize the air strikes.

"I do think it's important for Congress to authorize these airstrikes, particularly into Syria. Remember, General Dempsey came out and said you can't win this unless you go into Syria."

Also See:
Australia the First to Offer Troops As Anti-ISIS Coalition Is Slow to Take Shape

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