Scott Walker: US combat forces not necessary in Iraq now
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is drawing a contrast with one of his 2016 competitors, arguing that U.S. combat troops are not needed now in Iraq.

On ABC News’s “This Week,” Walker was asked whether he would send U.S. combat troops to Iraq now if he were commander in chief.

“No, I believe right now we have a capacity to reclaim Iraq with the Iraqi forces that are there as long as we unleash the power that is already there of the American armed forces,” he said in an interview airing Sunday.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who announced his presidential bid last week, has advocated sending 10,000 U.S. ground troops to Iraq now to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Instead, Walker said the U.S. should “reengage” the strength of the U.S. military forces that are currently in Iraq, thereby empowering allied forces that can reclaim territory. Walker said the strategy should not, however, lead to ISIS terrorists being pushed out toward Syria where they can find safe haven.

Asked if he favors Graham’s approach, Walker initially said, “I think we shouldn't rule anything out.”

Later, he added, “I would not rule out boots on the ground.”

Walker declined to say whether he would rule out a “full-blown U.S. reinvasion of Iraq and Syria.”

“I don't think we should ever send a message to our foes as to how far we're willing to go,” he replied.

The Wisconsin governor said he plans to announce his 2016 intentions shortly after the end of the month.