WASHINGTON - Jeb Bush and other Republican presidential candidates on Monday said more US troops were needed to counter Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq but stopped short of calling for the deployment of significant numbers of combat personnel.
Speaking on several television programs, Bush said American soldiers were needed to provide leadership in the area and outlined other US steps he said were needed to combat the militant group following attacks in Paris on Friday that killed 129 people.
"It would require more boots on the ground, as you will, more troops on the ground, more special operators ... More involvement, for sure, but in a leadership role," he said on CBS's "This Morning" program.
He said more US troops should be embedded in the Iraqi army, provide more training for peshmerga forces and work more with the Sunni tribal leaders.
"We can't do this alone ... but we can lead," Bush said.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump, another candidate for the Republican nomination in the November 2016 election, told MSNBC he backed some US troops in the region but would instead focus on targeting Islamic State's oil and banking operations.
Asked if he would seek support from Americans for large deployments, Trump told the network's "Morning Joe" program: "No, I'm not. I'd put some there but I'm not." He later said he would back sending 10,000 troops to the region but did not give details about their role.
US Senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican candidate, called on President Barack Obama to coordinate military efforts with the French and allies in the Middle East to combat the militants following the Paris attacks.
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