Obama: Yes, We Underestimated ISIS

Meanwhile, Boehner says 'somebody's boots have to be on the ground'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2014 12:56 PM CDT
Obama: Yes, We Underestimated ISIS
President Obama speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Asked if the rise of the Islamic State caught the United States by surprise, President Obama gives a resounding affirmative: "That's true," he tells Steve Kroft in a 60 Minutes interview airing tonight. "That's absolutely true." After US marines crushed the militants in Iraq, he continues, "they went back underground, but over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos." The terror group used "very savvy" social media skills, sold "foreign fighters (on) their jihadist nonsense," and turned Syria into "ground zero for jihadists around the world."

"That's why it's so important for us to recognize part of the solution here is gonna be military," Obama continued, emphasizing the administration's plan to "push them back, and shrink their space." House Speaker John Boehner, speaking today on ABC's This Week, seemed to take that line a bit farther, saying, "At the end of the day, I think it's gonna take more than airstrikes to drive them outta there. At some point somebody's boots have to be on the ground." Asked if those boots should be American, he said: "We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don't destroy them first, we're gonna pay the price." (Read more President Obama stories.)

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