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Portman: U.S. Can Stop ISIS Without Boots on the Ground in Iraq

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:27 PM

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U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says the Obama administration must move quickly to stop ISIS, the extremist group that beheaded a second American journalist held captive in Syria yesterday. For Ohio Public Radio, WVXU's Howard Wilkinson has more.

Portman, in an interview with WVXU on Wednesday, said it may have helped if the Obama administration had left more of support presence in Iraq when troops were withdrawn during the president’s first term.

“We need to move and move quickly, and we’re already behind,” Portman said. “I think we’re in a much worse situation than we would have been if we’d kept in Iraq some intelligence, some special operators and some trainers. I think we could have stopped them.”

The group called Islamic State, or ISIS, has been operating in Syria and Iraq. ISIS released a video yesterday showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff. Last month, the group beheaded American photojournalist James Foley.

Portman said he does agree with President Obama that it’s not necessary to use U.S. ground troops to deal with ISIS, but says there are other steps the administration should take.

“I do believe that we can do it without putting boots on the ground, but we have to help others,” Portman said. “Including the Kurds—who are our allies in the region, including getting the Iraqi army much more engaged in the fight, including providing some of the support from the air but also providing some targeting support and some intelligence support. But I don’t think we can sit back and just allow this group to continue. To stop the beheadings, we’ve got to stop ISIS.”

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