Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH might agree with President Barack Obama on military action against ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but he does not think the president is doing enough. While in Portland, Maine Boehner sat down this past week “ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos” for an interview for “This Week,” that aired on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. In the far ranging interview, Boehner discussed the new war on ISIS, the GOP’s prospect in the midterm elections and the upcoming 114th session of Congress.
The most newsworthy element of the interview was the speaker’s position on the military fight against ISIS. When prodded, Boehner expressed that he could see United States troops on the ground fighting this new war against the terrorist threat. At first Boehner pointed out that that Obama’s plan is not enough considering the threat ISIS poses. The speaker commented; “If the goal is to destroy ISIS, as the president says it is, I don’t believe the strategy that he outlined will accomplish that. At the end of the day, I think it’s going to take more than air strikes to drive them out of there. At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
Stephanopoulos pressed Boehner if he thinks “Americans” have to be on the ground, President Obama’s goal is to train Iraqi and Syrian rebels to fight the ground war against ISIS. Boehner does not believe that at this point the president should be talking about what he will not be doing; “Listen, the president doesn’t want to do that. If I were the president, I probably wouldn’t have talked about what I wouldn’t do – and maybe we can get enough of those forces trained to get them on the battlefield, but somebody’s boots have to be there.” In the end after, Stephanopoulos continued pushing Boehner admitted he would put American troops on the ground, saying if “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 also believes that Obama has the right to authorize the military airstrikes, but he believes Congress should weigh-in on the military intervention, and would call back Congress if President Obama wanted them to authorize military force; “I’d be happy to. The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions to do what he’s done…. I think he does have the authority to do it, but the point I’m making is this is a proposal that the Congress ought to consider.”
President Obama has stated in numerous times, that there will not be any US ground troops fighting ISIS. President Obama outlined his military plan to “degrade and destroy” the terror organization in his speech to the nation on Wednesday evening, Sept. 10, 2014. In his speech outlining his plan that would primarily consist of targeted airstrikes, he expressed “will not have a combat mission.”
Since then he has subsequently clarified his plan would not include American soldiers fighting ISIS on the ground. In a speech on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida Obama reiterated his position on ground troops in the fight against ISIS; “As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
Obama is working to collect a global coalition of nations to help with the fight against ISIS, and he spent his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 24 seeking more nations to get involved particularly Muslim nations. The coalition includes over 50 nations, including five Arab nations that have assisted with striking key targets in Syria this past week. Since Obama’s UN speech, Great Britain and Denmark have joined the military airstrikes against ISIS.
- ‘This Week’ Transcript: House Speaker John Boehner, Sept. 28, 2014
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.