Jeb Bush and other Republican presidential candidates on Monday said more U.S. troops were needed to counter Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq but stopped short of calling for the deployment of significant numbers of combat personnel.
Speaking on several television programs, Bush said American soldiers were needed to provide leadership in the area and outlined other U.S. steps he said were needed to combat the militant group following attacks in Paris on Friday that killed 129 people.
“It would require more boots on the ground, as you will, more troops on the ground, more special operators … More involvement, for sure, but in a leadership role,” he said on CBS’s “This Morning” program.
He said more U.S. troops should be embedded in the Iraqi army, provide more training for peshmerga forces and work more with the Sunni tribal leaders.
“We can’t do this alone … but we can lead,” Bush said.
Democratic President Barack Obama said on Monday in Turkey it would be a mistake for the United States to switch its strategy and put U.S. troops on the ground to fight Islamic State.
Bush said he would not speculate about whether he would follow any possible recommendation from U.S. military advisers for large deployments of regular ground combat forces.