Chairman of Joint Chiefs: We Are 'Certainly Considering' US Combat Troops for Iraq

General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Obama’s top military adviser, told members of Congress on Thursday that the U.S. is actively considering deploying a limited number of U.S. combat troops to fight alongside Iraqi soldiers moving to retake Mosul and other areas under the control of Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq.

“I’m not predicting at this point that I would recommend that those forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by U.S. forces, but we’re certainly considering it,” Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee.

The statement comes just days after Obama authorized doubling the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, further indicating that U.S. forces will have the “boots on the ground” presence that Obama initially pledged against. Thus far, Obama has authorized the deployment of 3,100 U.S. advisers, trainers, and support personnel for Iraq, but has promised American forces would not be used in direct combat roles.

Critics point out that by most measures, the U.S. has already returned to ground combat in Iraq.

“If there are US troops on the front lines in al-Anbar, where ISIL has been expanding its reach in recent months, then unfortunately there are likely to be US casualties,” Juan Cole said on Saturday. “These are boots on the ground, even if there are not combat platoons going into battle by themselves.”

And as the Center for Constitutional Rights tweeted on Thursday, subsequent to Dempsey’s testimony:

The Guardian reports:

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