Obama Might Send Armed Soldiers, On the Ground, to Help Fight ISIS—But Don't Worry, They Won't Be 'Ground Troops'

Redefining combat.


Still confused about whether or not Washington is willing to send ground troops to fight ISIS? The New York Times tries to clear things up:

That escalated quickly.
Marvel Comics

Mr. Obama, in his White House speech and again to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., ruled [deploying ground forces] out. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that if airstrikes failed to vanquish the militants, he would recommend it to the president.

The White House has tried to square these two statements by offering an extremely narrow definition of combat: American advisers could be sent to the front lines alongside Iraqi and Kurdish troops, and could even call in airstrikes, without directly engaging the enemy. It is a definition rejected by virtually every military expert.

"Calling in airstrikes is just as much combat as firing a rifle at someone," said John A. Nagl, a retired lieutenant colonel who served in a tank battalion in Iraq and helped write the Army's counterinsurgency field manual. "What that guy really is doing is painting a house with a laser designator that results in that house being vaporized."

The American advisers are armed, and if they are shot at by the enemy, they are authorized to return fire. In a close combat advisory role in a city, experts said, the American troops would tell Iraqi commanders which house to hit, how much ammunition to use in an assault, and how to organize medical evacuation for their troops.

Read the rest here.

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  1. Is there anything that this son of a bitch can’t get away with?

    1. Nope. Impeachment will never happen to any president. Welcome to the Imperial Presidency.

      1. That’s such a bad idea. We should impeach someone at least once a year.

      2. At least not to any president the media has a crush on.

        1. Congress won’t do it.

      3. Back when America was truly free, corrupt Presidents were murdered every 20 years.

        Not saying it’s morally right, but economically it’s way more efficient and probably more efficient politically, too.

        I mean, it’s not like we’re all so against murdering leaders we don’t like – the vast majority of Americans are enthusiastically in favor of murdering leaders as long as they’re leaders of OTHER countries. But why should other countries get all the benefits of such unofficial policy?

  2. Obama is planning to arm American soldiers with the same passive voice weapons that cops carry. That way shots would be fired at ISIS without troops engaging in combat.

  3. This is really just a continuation of Obama’s ‘intellectual warfare’ mindset a la the Yemen and Pakistan drone campaigns. You pretend that air superiority alone will guarantee victory and that airstrikes are somehow the only thing needed to defeat an enemy. Really it’s just a facade to distance your actions and policies away from the outcome. When it doesn’t work, you just blame regional instability and call for more airstrikes.

    1. This exactly. I remember reading in On Killing that the big strategic bombing campaigns in WWII that were designed to “break the will” of the population only ended up strengthening their resolve. However, if the bombing was followed up with the significant, very real threat of invasion by ground forces, it caused significantly more trepidation in the populace than bombing alone ever did. The idea that airpower by itself is enough to win a conflict is absurd in its entirety.

  4. Another case of “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”?

    1. Using those boards from “Back to the Future: Part 2”!

  5. I always try to be polite on these threads, but when I read BS like what the White House is saying here, I can well understand why one might not be able to restrain oneself. I am disgusted.

  6. As previously noted*

    “Boots on the Ground” has become the official code language for “Conventional Armed Forces”.

    Obama seems to believe that he can weasel out of the claim of having ‘committed to ground troops’ by pretending that “no one thinks of JSOC assets as ‘ground troops'” –

    its not much different than the claim made by the Administration that “no one was told to ‘stand down’ from sending help in Benghazi”…

    …they were just told to ‘stay where they are!’ which is really not the same thing. Because ‘staying’ is ‘doing something’! Not an order to ‘not do something’.

    The expression “Weasel Words” used to be a way to shame people. Now it seems to form the basis of our very political Narratives. We are so used to being lied to, that we’re becoming more concerned with ‘how’ we’re being lied to than ‘why’, or about ‘what’.

    1. Your last paragraph is the entire reason I avoid TV and radio news like the plague. I can gloss over the chaff in print article and focus on the wheat myself. In sequential media, the chaff is 90% of the product and therefore 90% a waste of time.

  7. Is it just me, or does it seem that Obama is channeling Robert McNamara? Or am I the only one who remembers McNamara?

  8. Hmmm, who does this task [controlling bombers] for the Air Force: Combat Control specialist. I suppose President Jarre …er… 0 can easily make the Air Force change reality… ummm… terminology, perhaps:

    ‘Long Term Anti-Terrorist Gravity Assisted Prosecution specialist’

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