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Presidential candidate Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke says he raised record .2M since launching campaign for Texas governor Golden State Warriors owner says 'nobody cares' about Uyghurs All hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor MORE (R-Texas) is pushing back against the Obama administration's plan to send a number of U.S. special forces to Iraq and Syria in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Cruz told the The Associated Press that he doesn't favor boots on the ground in the effort to "utterly destroy" ISIS — something advocated by GOP candidates including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — but instead wants the U.S. to intensify its current airstrike campaign.
"You may need some embedded special forces to direct that air power," the Texas senator told the news outlet for a story published Wednesday, "but not the way President Obama is doing it now, which is just sending our guys over there with no mission, no plan to win."
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the plan Tuesday to send U.S. personnel to conduct raids and free hostages held by ISIS.
Reports have placed the figure of troops at roughly 200 in Iraq, while the Pentagon has said fewer than 50 will be sent to Syria.
Cruz also mentioned arming Kurdish fighters looking to defeat ISIS. And in Syria, where he said President Bashar al-Assad has killed many of his own citizens, Cruz said he didn't favor the Obama administration's push to see the leader leave power, as also advocated by rival presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
"If President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Sen. Rubio succeed in toppling Assad, the result will be the radical Islamic terrorist will take over Syria, that Syria will be controlled by ISIS, and that is materially worse for U.S. national security interests," Cruz told the AP.
Cruz used a similar argument in an interview with Bloomberg this week where he linked the Florida senator to Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State and current Democratic presidential front-runner, and the push to topple Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.