"Right now, we’ve got a campaign plan that has a strong chance for success in Iraq," the president said. "Syria is a more challenging situation."
House Speaker John Boehner questioned Obama’s strategy to destroy the Islamic State group. Boehner said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week" that the U.S. may have "no choice" but to send in American troops if the mix of U.S.-led airstrikes and a ground campaign reliant on Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and moderate Syrian rebels fails to achieve that goal.
"These are barbarians. They intend to kill us," Boehner said. "And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price."
Obama, though, made clear he has no interest in a major U.S. ground presence beyond the 1,600 American advisers and special operations troops he already has ordered to Iraq.
"We are assisting Iraq in a very real battle that’s taking place on their soil, with their troops," the president said. "This is not America against ISIL," he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. "This is America leading the international community to assist a country with whom we have a security partnership."
Only the U.S. can lead such a campaign, Obama said. "We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world. And when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing. They don’t call Moscow. They call us."