No US boots in Syria is a 'fantasy,' Graham says

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamConservation remains a core conservative principle Graham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday said there must be a substantial U.S. component on the ground in Syria in order to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

“This idea that we’re never going to have boots on the ground in Syria is fantasy. All this has come home to roost after the last three years of incompetent decisions,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s delusional in the way they approach this.” 

Graham said the U.S. is fighting a war now, and not just a counterterrorism operation.

“I will not let this president suggest to the American people we can outsource our security and this is not about our safety,” he said, referring to the Obama administration’s push to empower local players already on the ground in Iraq and Syria. 


White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughSenate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation Live coverage: Justice IG testifies before House on report criticizing FBI Ex-Obama chief of staff: Obama's Russia response was 'watered down' MORE said earlier in the program that Congress should provide authorization to expand a program to train and equip vetted moderate rebels in Syria who can fight the battle instead of U.S. troops.

“There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria to destroy [ISIS] without a substantial American component,” Graham said.

Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedThis week: Congress set for next stage of Mueller probe fight Overnight Defense: Top Marine warns border deployment could hurt readiness | McSally aims for sexual assault reforms in defense bill | House to vote on measure opposing transgender ban | New warning over F-35 sale to Turkey Marine Corps commander: Using troops at southern border an 'unacceptable risk' to readiness MORE (R-R.I.), a member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, however, said indigenous troops are “the most effective forces.” 

Putting U.S. combat troops on the ground is “not the right approach,” Reed added, because then the Iraqis and Saudis would step back from the fight. 

Graham said he’s tired of hearing from the administration, from Democrats and even from Republicans that this war will be easy and not a U.S. fight.

“This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home,” he said. “This is not a Sunni vs. Sunni problem this is [ISIS] vs. mankind.”

Reed added there are thousands of lone wolves that could attack the U.S., however, and said it’s “not accurate” to only be concerned about ISIS.