Pentagon Mulling Conventional Ground Troops For Syria, But Officials Insist It's Not A Formal Proposal Yet

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Feb 15, 2017 5:00 PM
Pentagon Mulling Conventional Ground Troops For Syria, But Officials Insist It's Not A Formal Proposal Yet

CNN is reporting that the Pentagon will recommend deploying ground troops to Syria to expedite the fight against ISIS in the region. President Trump has instructed the Defense Department to come up with a strategy to take on the radical Islamic terror group by the end of the month. Barbara Starr, the Pentagon correspondent for the news network had more on this. Right now, it’s merely a point of discussion, she says:

"It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time," one defense official told CNN.

[…]

Conventional units operate in larger numbers and would require a more significant footprint of security protection both on the ground and in the air.

US officials are characterizing the concept of deploying ground troops as a point of discussion, stopping short of saying it's a formal proposal.

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For one thing, it would be a sign of an increased willingness by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford to accept more risk for US troops in hope of gaining ground on ISIS.

At his confirmation hearing, Mattis was not asked about putting more troops into Syria, but he did explain how he would seek to change US military efforts in Iraq and Syria from Obama administration.

"I think it's getting there as rapidly as possible, where it would be a more accelerated campaign," Mattis said.

Conventional troop deployment was anathema to the Obama administration, whose entire policy in the region looked increasingly ridiculous. As the civil war raged on, creating the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and provided another area for ISIS to establish a base of operations—the Obama administration stressed talks, ceasefires—all of which failed. When Russia became involved, the Obama administration did nothing, going against 50 years of American foreign policy precedent of keeping the Russians out of the Middle East.

To complicate matters, the Russians support embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which the U.S. wanted to boot. Well, in any negotiation, the U.S. wanted him out, and Russia would do everything to keep him in power. So, you can see how any further ceasefire talks post-Russian intervention would be moot. But at least the Obama administration could go to sleep looking like they were doing something while the carnage continued.

Oh, and remember that red line the Obama White House had regarding chemical weapons. Well, that was crossed in August of 2013—and it doesn’t take a detective to figure out who probably did it. And what response did the world see from the U.S.? Nothing much.