Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Sunday he is not mincing words: The United States needs boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS, and he believes Americans would thank a president who stood up for their values in the fight on terrorism.
"We are going to have to have our military actively engaged with those special operators from those other countries to eliminate the ISIS threat," said Perry on CNN's "State of the Union"
program, during an interview recorded with host Dana Bash just after his Conservative Political Action Conference speech late last week.
The likely repeat candidate for the GOP presidential nomination next year confirmed that those words do mean he backs putting boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq. But Perry, demurred when it came to the numbers or battle strategy he'd advocate.
"I've written too many letters to moms, dads, spouses, next of kin for almost a decade of people we've lost in Texas during this war on terror, and to be sending information to the enemy, whether it's through the media or any other source I will suggest to you is irresponsible," Perry said.
But Perry said it's time to look back and see the opportunities that were missed, such as "funding and giving weapons to the Syrian rebels."
"We could have stopped ISIS before they ever got out of Syria," said Perry. "Then as they moved into Iraq we had the opportunity with the Peshmerga to fund them and we failed at that. So the options we have left are not the best ones, but having a coalition with the Jordanians, with the Saudis, with the other middle eastern countries...but they're the lesser of options."
And as a potential candidate, Perry said he'd answer concerns from voters about a Texas governor who wants to send U.S. troops to the Middle East by stressing his background.
"I would suggest to them that I have the background and the ability to make decisions on my own," said Perry. "I think if American and western values are in jeopardy and U.S. troops working with a coalition force is how you stop ISIS, I think the bulk of the American people are going to say, thank you, 'Mr. President, for standing up for our values.' Thank you for stopping this face of evil."
Also on Sunday, Perry told CNN that he supports the upcoming visit this week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who House Speaker John Boehner invited to speak to Congress, noting that the Obama administration has many issues with the Israeli government.
"If this was the first issue with Israel it would be that maybe we could have some questions about, but it's not, said Perry. "We've seen the Secretary of State [John Kerry] make the comparison between the apartheid south Africa regime and Israel, you've heard varying individuals in this administration criticize the prime minister, criticize Israel."
To Perry's perspective, the Obama administration is not sending clear messages that it respects Israel and will stand with the nation.
"Israel feels very vulnerable at this particular point in time because of the feckless foreign policy we've seen out of this administration," said Perry. "So I totally understand why Prime Minister Netanyahu feels it's important for him to come and to express his concerns about what's going on in front of the United States Congress. I'm glad he is."
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