Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that Americans had better be ready for a serious U.S. military engagement against the Islamic State involving thousands of ground troops in Syria.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Graham said U.S. ground forces, joined by troops from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region are needed for a serious attack on Islamic State in Syria.
“If you don’t destroy ISIL in Syria, which is their headquarters, we’re going to get attacked at home,” Graham said. “There’s an opportunity here with some American leadership to do two things, which is to destroy ISIL before we get hit at home, and also to push Assad out.”
An effective campaign against the Islamic State would require more than the 40,000 or 50,000 troops that some have suggested, but that just 10 percent of those ground forces should come from the U.S, he said. The rest should come from regional partners eager to eliminate the Islamic State and remove Syrian President Bashar Assad.
And that, said the South Carolina senator who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, is key to earning the cooperation of regional partners like Turkey and lessening the influence of Iran and Russia.