If not, let me remind you what he said:
Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers 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 servicemembers to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.
(Emphasis mine.) So, we’ll just send 475 servicemembers, and their sole purposes will be “to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.” But no ground war for American forces, and surely, we won’t send any more servicemembers, right?
President Obama’s top military adviser said Tuesday that he would recommend deploying United States forces in ground operations against Islamic extremists in Iraq if airstrikes prove insufficient, opening the door to a riskier, more expansive American combat role than the president has publicly outlined.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that while he was confident that an American-led coalition would defeat the Islamic State, he would not foreclose the possibility of asking Mr. Obama to send American troops to fight the militants on the ground — something Mr. Obama has ruled out.
“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true,” General Dempsey said. “But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I, of course, would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”
General Dempsey acknowledged that this would run counter to the president’s policy, but he said, “He has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis.”
Now, to be sure, regular readers of my blog won’t be surprised to find out that the administration may be considering putting in additional ground troops in Iraq, and getting them involved in combat operations. I wrote in my initial post that “[t]here is no way on this or any other planet that we are going to achieve a decisive victory over ISIL via airpower alone,” and evidently, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff feels the same way. But if all one had to go on was the president’s speech, one would be shocked by this latest revelation. And although the president owed it to the American people to prepare them for the possibility that additional American ground troops would be needed for combat operations in Iraq, not one bit of General Dempsey’s message found its way into the text of the president’s address to the nation.
Recall that the Bush administration has been accused by many a demagogue of lying the nation into a war in Iraq. The claims were always bogus, but for those who are interested in keeping score, the Obama administration is actually doing just about everything that the Bush administration was charged with doing by its critics.