Graham: 10K US boots on the ground needed to stop ISIS in Syria

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, said on Sunday it would require 10,000 American “boots on the ground” to stop the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.

{mosads}Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria won’t destroy the group, but do help in some regard, Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Graham said U.S. forces in Syria should be accompanied by a regional force of Arab nations.

But, he said, “we cannot successfully defeat ISIL on the ground in Syria with the Free Syrian Army and regional coalitions of Arab nations until you deal with Assad because he will kill anybody that comes in there that tries to defeat ISIL.”

Graham said Iraq and Syria were the best platforms from which to launch another attack on the U.S. since 9/11. If ISIS is not stopped, he added, “you’ll see a Paris on steroids pretty soon.”

On the 2016 presidential race, Graham said, “I believe I’m the best qualified of anybody on our side of the aisle to offer an alternative to a failed foreign policy of Barack Obama.”

Graham pushed back against the notion that his views were not conservative enough. For example, conservative commentators have attacked his stance on immigration reform, calling him “Lindsey Grahamnesty.”

But Graham said he believed illegal immigrants being paid low wages under the table presented the real threat to American middle-class wages.

In addition, Graham said he would nominate Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.) as a Supreme Court justice, an opponent of President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.

“I’m very comfortable that I’m in the mainstream of conservatism,” he said.

–This report was updated at 1:07 p.m.

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