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Ex-NATO Commander: Up to 15,000 Ground Troops Needed

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.

He said:

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.

26 Responses to Ex-NATO Commander: Up to 15,000 Ground Troops Needed

  1. Apparently the Commander doesn’t understand that the option has been decreed “off the table”. End of discussion.

    There must be a secret vault somewhere that houses all the things that are now “off the table”. It has been rumored that the vault is in the Throne Room.

  2. What is he proposing: some new kind of hippie-dippie military strategy that amounts to mentoring, advising and training an army that has shown no will to fight?
    Perhaps he should volunteer to go there himself, find a few Iraqis to mentor and train them in the art of shooting the enemy instead of running away.
    The people of the Islamic countries have been ground down, beaten down, and kept from determining their own futures for so many generations that they have no idea of how to defeat anyone, even when holding a modern firearm.
    We have wasted too much blood and treasure on nations of discouraged citizens to do it again.

      • That’s why I find it so ludicrous that the US and its so-called allies are going to surgically remove all the “moderate” rebels from Syria, magically place them down in Saudi Arabia (flying carpet?), and exactly a YEAR from now, they will be the perfect “boots” to go back and destroy ISIS. Meanwhile . . .

    • Beautifully stated, srdem. I think the same as you do about the ordinary people of the Islamic countries. They are like the tiniest of rag dolls beaten down and scattered back and forth by huge desert winds. It all started with Iraq and blew up with Obama’s and Clinton’s Arab Spring.

    • So, I am curious. Respectfully, what are you saying?

      Clearly Operation Inherent Resolve is a joke. It is in limbo as a military operation. You don’t appear to have an appetite for an aggressive turn that would involve some actual military commitment to destroy ISIS.

      If one believes that a successful ISIS — taking Baghdad and establishing Iraq as their caliphate — is a threat to the US security (their stated goal) needs to be “degraded” and “destroyed” how to accomplish that?

      Me. I would wipe them out with a vigorous bombing campaign — enough to destroy them. With a decimated ISIS in Iraq and Syria at least the field is leveled for this to be dealt with internally. We should support the Kurds so that they have a fighting chance at independence — a little island — like Israel.

      Pretty simplistic. But what we have now is not sustainable.

      • Taking your side, Grace, what this retired person is suggesting is a mosquito bite which would protract this thing endlessly, with huge losses of our youth. You watch Fox so you are aware that most of these experts have already settled for a 30 year war or a 100 year war. It would make Vietnam look like a picnic. If we were like Israel, we would go full bore and get it over with, but we are not.

        • Agree. Bombing Toyotas and empty buildings won’t change a thing. We’re either all in or get out.
          MrO is playing a political game with our future, for reasons we suspect are purely to maintain his self image.

    • I prefer “post cool,” SrDem. But this is funny. Man, I am jolly today. I know no one else saw the smackie between Nicole Wallace and some snippy expert woman re Ebola (MoJoe also). Wallace said the movie Outbreak was this exact scenario and the expert gal (Senay…something Senay) advised her to stick with Netflix. Snap! Then this gal tried to bring it around again to this and slap at Wallace again. The experts are getting defensive what with trained nurses with fevers jumping on airliners, hospitals apologizing, etc.

      • She’s off in the head. She thinks she’s Beyonce and all the young men in the basketball league are in love with her. It must pain her to see the daughters growing up and realize that she is getting older.

        • She’s very popular among the Obamobots. She is encouraged to think she is “all that”.

          The more Obama’s star fades the more ridiculous she seems. She does not appear to recognize that. And that in itself is pleasing to me.

          And somehow Mooch does not seem to be the kind of person who is reflective about the night before when she had that hideous lampshade on her head and vows never to do that again.

  3. No training needed for those downtrodden desert folks. They all have a propensity for firing their Kalishnikovs into the sky in joyous celebration. All they need is staging. Throw some parties in strategic locations and encourage them to lower those rifles a bit and maybe they would hit some ISIS guys by accident. We’ve had enough of unintended consequences, let’s try some intended ones. “I shot an arrow into the air. It fell to earth I know not where.”

    • Did you ever wonder who is buying all this AK ammo for these guys to shoot off into the sky?

      Even cheap, steel-cased junk 7.62 rounds run at least 25 cents apiece, so each time they yell and fire a full-auto burst up in the air, they spent a weeks’ pay.

      So I wonder where the funding comes from?

  4. There won’t be any Arab fighters attacking ISIS. The Saudis know exactly what they want – US forces doing their wet work – and they will eventually get it. Saudis don’t do anything for themselves. All of the work is done by temporary immigrants while the royals sit back and sip tea.

    There might be a few Saudi jets in the mix, but no ground troops.

  5. Overheard at last military briefing
    OBAMA: Yes, generals I heard you all. BUT I’m reserving all troops for the African Ebola battle. That is the politically correct thing to do and I refuse to do act in any other manner. ISIS will just have to wait till after the election, or I leave office, or Iran gets a nuke, or………….