Dempsey won't rule out the use of ground forces

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 16, 2014 at 11:11 a.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says that under certain circumstances he would recommend deploying ground forces to Iraq.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate panel today that the plan is for Americans to serve strictly as advisers and not get directly involved in fighting against Islamic State militants. But he says if Iraqi forces were to take on a complex mission to retake Mosul from the militants, he might want U.S. troops to accompany them.

Under questioning today at the Senate hearing, Dempsey also said that if a U.S. pilot were to get shot down, American forces would be prepared to conduct a search-and-rescue mission.

And he said if the expanded air campaign fails, he'd recommend that the president consider deploying ground forces -- if he believes U.S. advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific targets held by the Islamic State group.

President Barack Obama has maintained that American forces will not have a combat mission in Iraq.

As the hearing took place, Obama met at the White House with a retired general who is coordinating international efforts. House Republicans, meanwhile, privately reviewed legislation that would grant the administration's request to train and equip the forces who will combat the militants.

%@AP Links

188-a-14-(General Martin Dempsey, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifying before Senate Armed Services Committee)-"necessary right now"-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey says U.S. ground troops could help coalition fighters on the ground for missions aimed at specific targets. (16 Sep 2014)

<<CUT *188 (09/16/14)££ 00:14 "necessary right now"

169-a-14-(Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, testifying before Senate Armed Services Committee)-"and hold it"-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the air campaign will enable the coalition to push the Islamic State Group back. (refers to Islamic State by one of its alternate names, ISIL) (16 Sep 2014)

<<CUT *169 (09/16/14)££ 00:14 "and hold it"

APPHOTO DCSA111: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the first in a series of high-profile Capitol Hill hearings that will measure the president's ability to rally congressional support for President Barack Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Obama last week outlined his military plan to destroy the extremists, authorizing U.S. airstrikes inside Syria, stepping up attacks in Iraq and deploying additional American troops, with more than 1,000 now advising and assisting Iraqi security forces to counter the terrorism threat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (16 Sep 2014)

<<APPHOTO DCSA111 (09/16/14)££

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The Associated Press

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