President Barack Obama reiterated Wednesday that the U.S. is not about to get enmeshed in a ground war in Iraq and Syria.
“America can make a decisive difference, but I want to be clear: the American forces deployed to Iraq do not — and will not — have a combat mission," Obama told troops at U.S. Central Command in Tampa Bay, Florida.
“As your Commander in Chief, I will not commit you, and the rest of our armed forces, to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
But that may be a truth with modifications. For one thing, there are already 1,600 Americans on the ground in Iraq. While not there to conduct offensive missions against the Islamic State, the Americans are authorized to use force if attacked.
And not all military officials have taken the stance that ground forces are out of the question. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this week testified before the Senate Armed Forces Committee that if the current plan to battle ISIS fails, he could "go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”