US General: We Might Need Ground Troops Against ISIS
Martin Dempsey says special circumstances might come up
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2014 6:40 PM CDT
Members of the anti-war activist group CodePink interrupt a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – President Obama has been adamant that American military intervention against ISIS will not involve US ground troops. But as it turns out, the people who will be doing the actual intervening aren't so sure about that. In testimony today before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said he's all for the international coalition that the US is assembling, reports the New York Times, but:

  • “My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true. But if it fails to be true, and 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 US military ground forces.”

For example, Dempsey said that airstrikes might not be effective in heavily populated areas such as Mosul, Iraq. In that case, he might recommend what he called "close combat advising," in which US special forces work on the ground with Iraqi military leaders and help them ferret out ISIS troops, reports the Guardian. He also said US "advisers" might have to be on the ground to direct airstrikes. Obama, he added, seems prepared for such requests. “At this point, his stated policy is we will not have US ground forces in direct combat," said Dempsey. "But he has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis.”