During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the U.S. will begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria with the hopes of intensifying pressure on the jihadists. Due to the Obama administration’s half-hearted air campaign and abysmal failure to arm and train fighters, progress against the terrorists has been “elusive.”
“Obama fails. It’s what he does,” Ace of Spades explained.
So now the Defense Department has decided to engage in “direct action on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, which is another way of saying the U.S. is putting “boots on the ground” — which is a term the administration wants to avoid because the president has repeatedly said that he will not put boots on the ground.
After the pesky “JV team” could no longer be ignored, the president, confident that his decision to pull all of our troops out of Iraq was the correct and moral thing to do, promised that he would not send American troops to the region for combat operations.
President Obama said he would not put U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq, but left the door open for other forms of military action in response to the growing sectarian violence in the country.
“We will not be sending troops back into combat in Iraq,” Obama said at a White House press conference.
In answer to a reporter’s question, the president later said, “I think we always have to guard against mission creep, so let me repeat what I’ve said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again.”
This is not and will not be America’s fight alone. One of the things we’ve learned over this last decade is America can make a decisive difference. But I want to be clear: the American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,” Mr. Obama said during a short address to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
Later in the day, Secretary of State John Kerry echoed the president during an appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“U.S. ground troops will not be sent into combat in this conflict,” Kerry said.
Defense Secretary Carter said Tuesday, “We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”
In other words, American forces in Iraq will be engaging in combat missions, after all.
He brought up last week’s rescue operation with Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to free hostages held by ISIS as an example.
Carter and Pentagon officials initially refused to characterize the rescue operation as U.S. boots on the ground. However, Carter said last week that the military expects “more raids of this kind” and that the rescue mission “represents a continuation of our advise and assist mission.”
This may mean some American soldiers “will be in harm’s way, no question about it,” Carter said last week.
Carter summed up by saying, “This is combat and things are complicated.”
One suspects it wouldn’t be quite as “complicated” if an honest, forthright and competent president were running things.