As the United States continued airstrikes against the Islamic State (I.S.) group on Sunday, Republican house speaker John Boehner has warned the U.S. may have "no choice" but to deploy ground forces to battle the militants.
"At some point, somebody's boots have to be on the ground," Boehner told ABC News on Sunday. Describing I.S. fighters as "barbarians," the top House Republican claimed "at the end of the day, I think it's gonna take more than air strikes to drive them outta there."
"They intend to kill us. And if we don't destroy them first, we're gonna pay the price," he stated.
President Barack Obama has claimed no U.S. ground troops will be sent to Iraq and Syria to battle I.S, though the Pentagon has already dispatched over 1000 U.S. troops to Iraq. It says the troops will only provide support to Iraqi security forces.
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However, Boehner's warning that ground troops could soon be inevitable is just the latest in a wave of Republican outcry against Obama's pledge to keep the United States from entering another Middle Eastern quagmire.
Earlier in September, Republican senator Lindsey Graham warned I.S. is an "army" that is "intending to come here." Graham claimed that if U.S. ground troops aren't sent to battle I.S., "we all" could be "killed" by the militant group.
"If they survive our best shot ... then they will open the gates of hell to spill out on the world," Graham warned.
Currently, I.S.'s operational capacity is largely limited to Iraq and Syria, where they were hit with another wave of U.S.-led airstrikes on Sunday. At least three oil refineries were hit by airstrikes near the I.S. stronghold Raqqa.