U.S. rethinks ground troops in Iraq and Syria

Sep 16, 2014 5:50 PM by Debbie Cobb

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says that under certain circumstances he would recommend deploying ground forces to Iraq.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate panel today that the plan is for Americans to serve strictly as advisers and not get directly involved in fighting against Islamic State militants. But he says if Iraqi forces were to take on a complex mission to retake Mosul from the militants, he might want U.S. troops to accompany them.

Under questioning today at the Senate hearing, Dempsey also said that if a U.S. pilot were to get shot down, American forces would be prepared to conduct a search-and-rescue mission.

And he said if the expanded air campaign fails, he'd recommend that the president consider deploying ground forces -- if he believes U.S. advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific targets held by the Islamic State group.

But the response from White House spokesman Josh Earnest is that Obama "will not deploy ground troops in a combat role into Iraq or Syria."


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