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In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, suggested that the United States might alter its position on the deployment of American troops in the fight against ISIS.If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [ISIS] targets, I'll recommend that to the president".While the chairman was speaking only about troops accompanying their Iraqi counterparts, not large contingents of American forces engaged directly in battle with ISIS, the ambiguities in Dempsey's remarks had many observers wondering how the U.S. role in Iraq and Syria might change. Was it a good idea for the Obama administration to say that it would not send ground troops to fight ISIS?War is about will, and someone like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not going to be impressed when the American priority is to limit casualties and stick to what is politically safe.The war against ISIS will be a long one, and Obama would do best not to tie his own hands.Dempsey implicitly showed the shortcomings of adopting too definite a position, and soon enough expect Obama to start doing the same.
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