Reprinted from Antiwar
Iraq War III is chugging along right on schedule, the mission creeping with increasing speed. The latest: Gen. Martin Dempsey, El Commando Supremo, is saying he may have to send in more ground troops:
"'I'm not predicting at this point that I would recommend that [Iraqi security] forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by US forces, but we're certainly considering it,' Dempsey said.
"Even with potential US involvement in ground combat looming, Dempsey and his boss, defense secretary Chuck Hagel, said further troop increases would be 'modest,' and not on the order of the 150,000 US troops occupying Iraq at the height of the 2003-2011 war.
"'I just don't foresee a circumstance when it would be in our interest to take this fight on ourselves with a large military contingent,' Dempsey said. But should the Iraqi military prove unwilling to take back 'al-Anbar province and Ninewa province' -- the majority of territory in Iraq seized by ISIS -- or should new Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi exclude Sunnis from power, 'I will have to adjust my recommendations,' Dempsey said."
You'll recall Dempsey raised this prospect back in September, only to get slapped down by the real Commander-in-chief, who basically reiterated his "no ground troops" pledge -- and then proceeded to send yet more ground troops to Iraq, doubling their number in recent days.
Note the various conditions Dempsey attaches to the notion that the US role in Iraq War III is going to be limited: if the Iraqis are "willing" -- not able? -- to "take back al-Anbar and Ninewa province[s]," if the new Iraqi prime minister isn't mean to the Sunnis -- if, if, if.
So what's our policy? You can't really tell from here what this most "transparent" of administrations is up to, and what's particularly scary is that one doubts whether even they know. Obama says one thing, and then does another. Dempsey says more, Obama says less. This game of seesaw between the President and Dempsey is a bit banana-republic-anish -- I mean, who's in charge here, exactly? Or are we being fooled into thinking Obama is the "reluctant interventionist," as he cynically plays the game once played by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the run up to our last world war?