White House press secretary Josh Earnest tells a weekly press briefing that there are protocols in place if potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria against ISIS meet with a response from the Assad government’s air defenses:
There are rules of engagement any time that our men and women in uniform are put into harm’s way. And so there will be rules of engagement that are related to any military orders that the President directs – military actions that the President directs. So I’d refer you to the Department of Defense for a detailed assessment of that. But it won’t surprise you to know that there are contingencies related to self-defense when it comes to these sorts of rules of engagement.
He says that media reporting of the secret Special Forces mission to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages – which ultimately failed – demonstrates President Obama is willing to put boots on the ground if necessary:
But I can say that while I think it is evident to anybody who is paying attention here that that is – indicates the President’s willingness to order the kind of military action that’s required to protect the lives of military – of American citizens, even if it means sending our military into Syria.