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Obama: I will not commit to another ground war in Iraq

A day after Gen. Martin Dempsey hinted at a possible combat role for U.S. troops in Iraq, President Barack Obama reassured troops during a visit to Central Command in Tampa that "I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq."

By
JC Finley
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Gen. John Allen (C) and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk for talks in the Oval Office on combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), September 16, 2014, in Washington, DC. UPI/Mike Theiler
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Gen. John Allen (C) and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk for talks in the Oval Office on combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), September 16, 2014, in Washington, DC. UPI/Mike Theiler | License Photo

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday to U.S. troops at Central Command in Tampa, Florida, about U.S. military action to combat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

The president underlined that the war on the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, "is not and will not be America's fight alone."

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Obama also made clear that fight will not include U.S. ground troops in Iraq.

"The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission."

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Instead, U.S. troops "will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists."

"As your Commander-in-Chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq. After a decade of massive ground deployments, it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries' futures. And that's the only solution that will succeed over the long term."

The president's assertion comes a day after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel that he would recommend utilizing an unspecified number of the 1,600 deployed military advisers in a ground force capacity to bolster Iraqi forces in their fight against IS.

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Dempsey's remarks to the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Tuesday seemed at odds with the Administration's insistence that there would be no American boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria, and contradicted Hagel's testimony to the committee that "American forces will not have a combat mission."

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