Throughout a year and a half of war against ISIS, President Obama’s “no boots on the ground” pledge has been repeatedly revised by officials, initially insisting it meant no troops, then no combat troops, and now, according to President Obama, it simply meant no battlion-level deployments.
Obama now insists he never had any intention not to send combat troops to Iraq and Syria, and that the American people always understood he simply meant deployments would be small and limited to company-sized deployments or smaller.
Obama insists that the latest deployment of troops into Iraq, which the Pentagon has suggested will be in the 100 soldier level, will “squeeze and ultimately destroy” ISIS. During his comments, he continued to play up the idea that the war is going well, insisting ISIS is totally incapable of launching Paris-style attacks within the US.
With US deployments by and large limited to numbers in the dozens or low hundreds, the administration seems to be gambling it can avoid serious debate about its repeated escalations. At the same time, the promise of “no battalions” is all but meaningless, since the deployments are happening with such regularity that they are building up into the thousands in short order.