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Sen. Rubio: President Shouldn’t Rule Out Need For Ground Troops In Iraq

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Barack Obama announced Thursday nearly 300 members of U.S. special operations deployed to Iraq to advise the Iraqi military.

However, he said there would be no airstrikes as more intelligence is gathered about potential targets.

He also said the return to Iraq doesn’t mean a return to war.

Watch the report, click here

Florida Senator Marco Rubio responded to the President’s plans for Iraq to CBS4 investigator Jim DeFede.

Senator Rubio has publicly criticized the President for publicly ruling out the use of ground troops.

DeFede asked him under what circumstances would he send U.S. troops back into the country.

“We can’t allow ISIS to establish a safe haven in both Syria and Iraq, that would be like having another Afghanistan before 9-11, an operational space for a group that has a clear ambition to attack Americans and carry-out terrorist attacks here in the U.S. could operate from so I think there is a general understanding here in Washington, that we have to keep that from happening,” said Rubio.  “I believe the way you prevent that from happening from our perspective is primarily through the air through missile strikes and drone strikes and manned aircraft strikes against their supply lines and their command and control structure. As far as committing ground troops, Iraq hasn’t asked for that. I personally believe you can achieve the mission I’ve outlined without having to commit ground troops. Ultimately, I will say this though, we can never allow another Afghanistan-type situation to occur where terrorists have a space where they can openly operate and plot against us or we’re going to have another 9-11 one day and it rises to that level of urgency and there is nothing we shouldn’t consider doing if, in fact, that is on the verge of happening.”

DeFede also asked Rubio if the President should seek congressional approval before launching even air strikes and Rubio said, he could, but doesn’t feel he has to.

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