There have been numerous news reports over the last week — including several posts here at Western Journalism — strongly indicating that the Obama administration does not have a consistent, coherent policy for combating the Islamic State. What just happened in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee will only serve to reinforce that perception of confusion within the ranks of Obama’s top officials.
Fox News reports that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs — America’s top military leader — has raised the distinct possiblity of U.S. “boots on the ground” in the expanding fight against ISIS in the Middle East.
In testimony before Congress, Gen. Martin Dempsey seemed to contradict — or at the very least to undermine — what the Command-in-Chief, his boss, Barack Obama — has consistently promised.
The top U.S. military leader opened the door Tuesday to U.S. troops on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State, testifying before Congress that he could recommend “U.S. military ground forces” if the international coalition being formed proves ineffective against the terror group.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey made the statement during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Though President Obama vowed last week that the U.S. would “not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq” and military leaders say ground troops are not needed at the moment, Dempsey said he could change his recommendation if he found circumstances “evolving” in the region.
USA Today reports on Dempsey’s specific statement before the Senate panel:
“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” said Dempsey.
As Fox News reports, many military leaders as well as lawmakers have expressed concern about the president’s recent speech in which he essentially ruled out the deployment of U.S. war fighters in combat roles against ISIS. Gen. Dempsey’s testimony underscored that divide:
The statement comes as the administration faces a deep divide in Congress that muddies traditional partisan lines over the possibility of ground forces being introduced. Many Democrats and Republicans oppose U.S. combat troops entering the fight. But some Republican lawmakers have criticized the president for appearing to rule out that option.
“ISIS is an army,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., top Republican on the committee, said Tuesday. “It will take an army to beat an army.”
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