POLITICS

GOP Senator Wants A Coalition Of 100,000 Troops In Iraq And Syria

Because it worked so well last time.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said 100,000 troops could be needed to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a coalition that would include 25,000 Americans.

The call for 100,000 troops -- a full-scale war -- exceeds the bids by hawks in Johnson's party, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.), for numbers closer to 10,000 on the ground.

Johnson, in an interview with Wisconsin reporter Mike Gousha for the local ABC affiliate's "Up Front," likened taking out ISIS to the first Gulf War, in which President George H.W. Bush used a global coalition to push Iraq's Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. What that has to do with ISIS, though, is hard to discern.

"Senator, you've said on a number of occasions that you favor U.S. troops as part of this coalition going into these countries to move ISIS out of its safe areas. How many American troops would you support sending overseas to accomplish this mission?" Gousha asked.

Johnson at first brushed off the question. "Well, I'm not a military expert. The model I use is what George H. W. Bush did when Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait," he said. 

"I know, you're not a military guy, but is it 10,000? Is it 20,000? Give us some idea of what you're talking about in terms of an American presence overseas," Gousha pressed.

"I've been told by military experts that ISIS, in terms -- militarily is not particularly capable. They're being driven out Sinjar by [Kurdish] peshmerga troops who are really good fighters but they're not highly trained. ISIS is not that good militarily. They're sophisticated in terms of use of social media, spreading this vile and barbaric ideology of theirs, recruiting people to join their jihad. They're sophisticated there, but militarily, it really would not be that difficult. It wouldn't take anywhere near the effort that the first Gulf War did. I've been hearing 25,000 troops, a total coalition of 100,000. I really don't know the exact numbers, but we have to be committed to the goal."

Johnson is running for re-election against former Sen. Russ Feingold, an antiwar progressive toppled by Johnson in 2010. 

Johnson, a staunch conservative, has been a critic of this reporter, calling him "some liberal" and a "so-called reporter" in a blog post on his Senate website, which was removed after an ethics complaint. 

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