US President Barack Obama speaks after a military briefing at US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Sept 17, 2014. [Photo/IC]
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday reiterated that the United States will not use ground troops against Iraq to fight against the Islamic State (IS).
"I will not commit you, and the rest of our Armed Forces, to fighting another ground war in Iraq," Obama said during an appearance at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, which houses the US Central Command. "It is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries future."
The assurance came a day after US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey told lawmakers during a Senate subcommittee hearing that that he would recommend Obama send US ground troops to fight IS if conditions in Iraq could deteriorate to certain point.
Following a meeting at MacDill base with top US military commanders responsible for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama insisted any US service members in Iraq would only "support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists."
"We cannot do for the Iraqis what they must do for themselves," he said, adding that "we're going to degrade and ultimately destroy (IS) through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy."
Since Aug 8, US Central Command has conducted more than 160 airstrikes against IS forces across Iraq.
US President Barack Obama shakes hands before speaking after a military briefing at US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Sept 17, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
US President Barack Obama sits next to Commander of Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III during in a briefing from top military leaders while at US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Sept 17, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
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Posted on 18-Sep-2014