To the extent that anyone still believes President Obama’s pledge that the ever-growing number of ground troops sent to Iraq, the notion was destroyed by comments from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey in testimony to Congress.
Gen. Dempsey confirmed that the US is “actively considering” the use of ground troops in direct combat roles against ISIS, in the course of its plans to send yet more troops on top of the 3,000 already there.
Dempsey is still trying to avoid scaring people off of what is shaping up to be an enormous, open-ended war, saying he didn’t think the number of ground troops would be on the scale of the last failed occupation of Iraq.
At the same time, Dempsey talked about the need for “80,000 competent” Iraqi troops to retake parts of Iraq, and in the absence of those troops it was clear that the Pentagon would be expected to fill in the gaps.
Exactly what is meant by “competent” in the context of Iraqi troops is unclear, though they have proven to be anything but in recent clashes with ISIS, hence the loss of such a large amount of territory already.