Whatever he said will change…
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In his war speech last night, President Obama was at strikingly adamant about what the US mission to “degrade and destroy” ISIS would not entail: American ground troops in a combat role. The 475 additional personnel being deployed to the region are only authorized assist with “training, intelligence and equipment.” Direct American intervention will be limited to a protracted campaign of airstrikes, in Iraq and — for the first time — Syria. The Washington Post reports today that when the president tasked military leaders with devising the best strategy to defeat ISIS, the Pentagon presented a plan that involved a limited number of combat “boots on the ground.” They were rebuffed, in favor of a more politically-palatable light footprint approach: