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Back to Iraq
Gen. Dempsey Talks Ground Troops Again

General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has told to the House Armed Services Committee that he is considering a ground-combat role for U.S. troops in Iraq, the Guardian reports:

“I’m not predicting at this point that I would recommend that [Iraqi security] forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by US forces, but we’re certainly considering it,” Dempsey said. […]

Even with potential US involvement in ground combat looming, Dempsey and his boss, defense secretary Chuck Hagel, said further troop increases would be “modest,” and not on the order of the 150,000 US troops occupying Iraq at the height of the 2003-2011 war.

“I just don’t foresee a circumstance when it would be in our interest to take this fight on ourselves with a large military contingent,” Dempsey said.

But should the Iraqi military prove unwilling to take back “al-Anbar province and Ninewa province” – the majority of territory in Iraq seized by Isis – or should new Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi exclude Sunnis from power, “I will have to adjust my recommendations,” Dempsey said.

When General Dempsey called for sending in ground troops in September, the White House quickly said it had ruled out that option. But could this time around be different?

The U.S. has just doubled the size of its forces in Iraq, and the President has announced, in somewhat vague terms, that this is a “new phase” in the fight against ISIS.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi troops may not be ready to go on the offensive against ISIS for three to four years, according to recent reports. And now Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has fired 36 top Iraqi generals in a potentially significant reform of the corruption-plagued Iraqi military, but one that will certainly take time to bear fruit.

With its army in turmoil at the highest level and woefully underprepared at the lowest, could Obama be eyeing a more extensive commitment to shoring up the remains of Iraq?

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  • Andrew Allison

    The definition of insanity . . . . Have we learned nothing from the results of half-um-hearted efforts to shore up failed governments?.

    • Kevin

      Well since the Communist Vietnamese are our best friends now, by 2064 the Islamic Caliphate in Iraq will be our best buds too. Who says Obama can’t do long term strategy?

      • Arkeygeezer

        Try 2015 if the President’s approval ratings keep plummeting.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I don’t even think we should be there anymore, since the strategy of planting Democracy in the heart of Islamoland was abandoned in unseemly haste by Obama, and no new strategy has been implemented. Gen. Dempsey’s job should be to formulate a strategy that advances American safety, instead of what is obviously politically motivated mission creep just like that which occurred in Vietnam. Only with firm realistic objectives can the military accomplish anything, since these objectives are absent no good will come of putting American’s into combat. I believe the best strategy now is that of “Divide and Conquer”, encourage the Sunni Jihadists to use all their resources killing the Shiite Jihadists and vice-a-versa. Putting the unifying target of American infidels into the mix which both sides can agree should have their heads sawed off, is exactly the wrong thing to do, so of course that is exactly what the stupid Obama is doing.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Unifying Islamists against an infidel military presence (us) was just as stupid when Republicans thought they could do it.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Our policy should be to contain the Islamists in Syria and Iraq, and let the locals hash out their own accommodation. Injecting U.S. troops and military supplies into this quagmire is absolute foolishness.

  • Fat_Man

    If Obama wanted to save Iraq, he could have done that 5 years ago. It is too late, Iraq is CTD. But, a day late and a dollar short is the story of the Obama maladministration.

    • rheddles

      Cheaper Than Dirt?

      • Fat_Man

        Circling the Drain, i.e., close to death. ICU lingo.

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