America will absolutely not get into yet another ground war in the Middle East, President Obama declared today at a speech to military personnel in Florida.
Yesterday, a top military adviser told members of Congress that depending how the current operations against ISIS work out, he might recommend an increased presence for U.S. ground forces.
But the president promised today that the assembled troops that he would "not commit you fighting another ground war in Iraq," according to The Washington Post.
As a reminder, here's what Obama said last in his nationally televised speech on American military operations in Iraq and Syria:
"We will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi Security Forces. Now that those teams have completed their work — and Iraq has formed a government — we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. "
There won't be a ground war. We'll just have troops on the ground.
In his speech today, Obama also promised, once again, to avoid sending troops into combat missions. "American forces in Iraq will not have a combat mission," he said, according to the Post. Instead, "they will support Iraqi forces."
Again, as a reminder, here's what Obama said last week in a speech on national television:
"Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq."
Those strikes, he said in the speech, have "killed ISIL fighters" and "destroyed weapons." In the same speech he also promised that American milirary forces "will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists," expanding beyond the airstrikes that had already been conducted.
It won't be a combat mission. It's just that combat might happen, inadvertently, as part of a sustained campaign of airstrikes designed to kill enemy forces and destroy weaponry.