WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's military campaign against the Islamic State group already has extended beyond the limits he first outlined.
But military experts inside and outside the administration argue that an even greater expansion may be needed for the mission to succeed, including positioning U.S. ground troops with front-line Iraqi security forces.
Doing that could put Obama close to violating his pledge to keep Americans out of combat.
For Obama, re-engaging in combat in Iraq would mean going back on promises about the current mission and undercutting a pillar of his presidency — ending long wars and avoid new ones.
If commanders request ground troops and he turns them down, Obama could be accused of putting his legacy first.
Obama has shown a willingness to expand the size and scope of the fight against the Islamic State extremist group.