Paul Ryan open to boots on the ground: We need to 'see this thing through'

Ryan: Ground troops must be on the table
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Story highlights

  • President Obama says there will be no boots on the ground against ISIS
  • Rep. Paul Ryan doubts Obama will be able to maintain that pledge
  • Designated amount of Special Forces could be helpful, Ryan argues
Rep. Paul Ryan doubts President Barack Obama will be able to maintain his promise that there will be no American boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS.
"I'm supportive of what the President has done going into Syria and Iraq, but you have to see this thing through," the Wisconsin Republican said Tuesday on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."
Obama suggested in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" that his policy of sending no U.S. combat troops will stay in place. The situation in the region is more a political problem than a military one, he said.
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According to a CNN/ORC International poll, the overwhelming majority of Americans (73%) support the current airstrike campaign but less than four in 10 favor sending combat troops into Iraq and Syria.
If Obama's administration ultimately comes to Congress with a plan to send combat troops to Iraq and Syria, Ryan said he would support it.
"I think the President should come to Congress with an authorization of force resolution and I would support it," he said. "And I would help the President pass that because I think it's necessary to see this threat through."
"We need to destroy ISIS, and we need to do what it takes to destroy ISIS," he continued.
Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and a potential 2016 presidential contender, said that he doesn't think "whole divisions" will be needed.
"This is not a 100,000 boots on the ground campaign, but I do believe, based upon our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, that having Special Forces teams embedded with indigenous fighters and a coordinated air campaign has been very successful for us in the past."
Ryan, who said "we have been getting briefings on ISIS for...a couple of years," stood by the President's current actions so far, but suggested more needs to be done. Having enablers on the ground to help guide the air campaign and avoid civilian targets would be helpful, he said.
"What I fear is the President is micromanaging the military in such an incremental way, making the same mistakes we've made in the past," he said. "We need to see this thing through and let the military do it as fast as possible."