The Obama administration’s new strategy for combating the Islamic State militant group terrorizing Iraq and Syria should not limit discussion of putting U.S. boots on the ground, and doesn’t go far enough overall, recently retired U.S. Gen. James Mattis told the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
“You just don’t take anything off the table up front, which it appears the administration has tried to do,” said Mattis, who served as the top U.S. general overseeing operations in the Middle East before leaving military service last year.
Mattis appeared before the House along with Ryan Crocker, who was previously posted as the top U.S. diplomat in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and Dafna H. Rand, the deputy director of studies for the Center for a New American Security.
Mattis, who served 41 years in the Marine Corps, said the United States does not necessarily need to send ground troops into Iraq or Syria to engage in direct combat with the Islamic State. For all their brutality, “you don’t have to use the best military” against them because “these people aren’t that good,” the general said.