Retired Admiral James Stavridis, who served under President Obama as NATO Supreme Commander, indicated this morning that 10,000-15,000 U.S. ground troops will be necessary to defeat ISIS.
Stavridis, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
This is not good news, but we’re going to need to put U.S. boots on the ground there. Not 150,000 like at peak in Iraq, but probably 10,000 to do the advising, the training, the mentoring. That’s how you make Iraqi security forces effective, that’s how you get the (Kurdish) Peshmerga in the game. If we can get ISIS in a three-front war, from the Pehmerga in the north, Iraqi security in the south, the bombing in the west, we can still turn this thing.
I would hope that our military – and I believe this – our military are giving the president a wide range of options, and within that range, they will say to him, ‘This is very high risk if we don’t put U.S. boots on the ground. If we want to turn this thing, Mr. President we need to be putting 10,000, maybe 15,000 troops on the ground.’
Appearing with Stavridis, NBC News Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski indicated White House hopes that Arab armies will do the fighting on the ground aren’t shared by the military.
“The hopes or aspirations of people here in this building of getting any of those Arab allies in this fight is minimal,” he said.
Miklaszewski also indicated Turkey was playing a game of chicken with the United States, withholding troops in the hope that it will force the United States to use its armed forces instead.