U.S. Army soldiers are watched by an Iraqi citizen in Shaab, Iraq, 2009.

Credit: The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

'We Are Inching Our Way Back Into A War In Iraq.'

November 10, 2014

Scarcely two months ago, President Obama was adamant: the country would not be sending American troops back into combat positions in Iraq.

Yesterday, on the heels of a midterm election where the President's party hemorrhaged Congressional seats, the story was a little different. Asked by Bob Schieffer about the prospect of more troops being deployed to fight the Islamic State, the President responded: "As Commander-in-Chief, I'm never going to say never." On Friday, he authorized the deployment of 1500 additional troops, many of whom will be positioned near areas where seeing combat is likely.

"Are we surprised?" asked Charles Sennott, co-founder of GlobalPost and head of The Ground Truth Project, who has been predicting an escalated troop presence in Iraq for quite some time.

"We said that right after the midterms we'd see a different tune. I'm sad to say that our predictions were accurate," he continued. "They're already ramping up. I think we'll see a further ramping up."

"We are inching our way back into a war in Iraq," he said.

According to Sennott, the President's renewal of resources reveals an underlying truth about the conflict: airstrikes alone will not be enough to degrade and destroy the Islamic State.  

"This mission to degrade and destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is not going to work without more troops, U.S. troops, who can coordinate and effectively manage this campaign on the ground," Sennott said.

But while Sennott sees American troops as necessary in defeating the Islamic State, he said long-term stability in the region will be the result of political and diplomatic—not military—successes.

"There is a military solution to the short-term goal of degrading and destroying the Islamic State," he said. "The overall regional conflagration right now, with the war in Syria becoming a proxy war between Sunni and Shia, and the real peril of this moment needs a diplomatic effort."

For more from Charles Sennott, tune in to his full interview on Boston Public Radio above.

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