Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday night that he is open to U.S. boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) if they are needed to save American lives.
Ruppersberger was asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett if he was open to boots on the ground.
“It all depends on the situation, if it means to protect American lives,” Ruppersberger said. “The only thing I’m concerned about, you don’t tell the enemy what you’re going to do. You surprise your enemy and you do what you need to do.”
There are already about 1,600 U.S. troops in Iraq, but they not directly engaged in combat.
“We have boots on the ground right now, but they’re not out there fighting,” Ruppersberger said. “They’re advising. They are training. but If it comes to a situation where it is about saving Americans’ lives, we’re gonna do what we need to do.”
He also pointed to the role of other countries in the coalition, a point the White House also emphasizes. Turkey’s parliament voted last week to authorize military action, but it remains unclear how far the country will go.
“We think we can put a coalition together, use our resources, use our allies, use NATO and get countries like Turkey involved, which will make a big difference,” Ruppersberger said.
Ruppersberger struck a different note last month on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“We don’t need boots on the ground any more,” he said on Sept. 7. “We don’t need tanks going in or infantry in there, that’s not what we’re dealing with anyhow. We’re not taking over another country. We’re not going to do that. And the American public do not want that, either.”