A day after the U.S. military’s top officer raised the possibility of boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama clarified the administration’s plans during an address to troops at U.S. Central Command.
“As your Commander-in-Chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,” Obama said on Wednesday, the day after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there could be circumstances under which he’d recommend the president use combat troops to fight the Islamic State.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed inclined to agree with Dempsey, telling CBS This Morning: “The reality is, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own.”
“So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy,” he added, noting that to say otherwise “traps” the president.
See below for more commentary and analysis on the issue: