MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, a top US military adviser, believes that an American-led coalition will only be able to defeat the Islamic State (IS) if it sends American troops to fight the militants on the ground, the New York Times reported on September 16.
Dempsey told a Senate committee that he would recommend the deployment of US ground troops in Iraq to Barack Obama, if the President’s strategy of air strikes against the IS does not prove successful. “If there are threats to the United States, then I, of course, would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces”, Dempsey said, as reported by the New York Times.
However, he does not recommend the deployment of regular combat troops, but the use of U.S. Special Forces that could mainly assist Iraqi commanders during battles. Dempsey later said that he was referring to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC’s) who would serve with Iraqi ground units and help to direct airstrikes from U.S. fighter jets above, according to ABC News.
The general’s statement contradicts President Obama’s words; Obama had previously told the war-weary American public that American ground troops would not be involved in fighting against the IS in Iraq.
The White House, however, stated that Mr. Obama was not changing his military policy and that Gen. Dempsey “was not out of sync with his Commander-in-Chief”, the New York Times said.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to hold a briefing with his military commanders at the Pentagon’s Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida.