America’s top generals have informed President Barack Obama they need more ground troops deployed to Iraq, says a top lawmaker with ties to Pentagon brass.
Since the Islamic State group stormed into northern Iraq and began beheading US and Western hostages, Obama has sent about 1,600 ground troops to the Middle Eastern country. Military leaders have tiptoed around saying they need more, but Republican lawmakers are clearly and forcefully making that case.
“Our military commanders … have all laid out scenarios where we need more troops,” says House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif. “If we don’t put boots on the ground, we can’t form the coalition, we can’t retake ground that needs to be taken and held.
“I know that they’ve asked for more than they’ve been given,” McKeon said Wednesday evening on CNN.
His blunt comments came a few hours after the president huddled with top military commanders at the Pentagon.
McKeon offered Obama some advice as he mulls what he heard during his first Pentagon visit since 2011: “It is time that he’d follow their advice.
“I would suggest that he listen to his military leaders,” said McKeon, who echoed other GOP hawks in calling for the commander in chief to give the military whatever it says it needs to fight the Islamic State. “They would give him the numbers that he should follow.”
A White House spokeswoman had not replied to a reporter’s request for comment at time of publication.
McKeon was among the first US lawmakers to plainly state that American ground troops will likely be needed to drive the violent Sunni group from Iraq and weaken it in Syria.
“I’m not saying that we need to have tens of thousands of troops,” McKeon said. “What I am saying is troops are necessary to call in the targets on the appropriate areas.”