'US’s no-boots-on-the-ground mantra – sign public doesn’t want more wars'
RT:Do you believe there's a conflict in the White House over this issue?
Eugene Puryear: It is tough to say because we have different things going back and forth. But I think they have decided on some sort of plan of action. Certainly General Dempsey from the Joint chief of staff has been teasing this almost from the beginning, telling Congress and others that it may be possible under certain circumstances that American troops would have to go into combat. One thing to remember about “advisers” is for US troops to go into combat all that could mean those who are advising Iraqi Units could then go with them into combat. I don’t know if their overall plan is to send large numbers of US combat troops. But especially from the increase of advisers we have seen recently that, based on the history of these advisory roles in military conflicts, they are planning to bring some of these forces embedded with the Iraqi units into combat. I don’t know that for sure but certainly the trend line is in that direction.
Ross Caputi, former US marine, on US invasion in Iraq: “General Dempsey is reiterating the rhetoric of the politicians in [Washington] DC and it reflects a general misunderstanding in what is going on in Iraq. Not everyone in Iraq views the Islamic State as the greatest threat to their security. For example, the Sunni community in Iraq looks at the Iraqi military and also the US military as a much bigger threat to their security than the IS.”
RT:Don’t you think they will have some problems in trying to convince the American public that this is the right thing to do?
EP: Absolutely! The talk from the White House is almost a mantra: “No boots on the ground, no boots on the ground, no boots on the ground” is a sign that the American people are completely opposed to these military adventures abroad, which is exactly why I view a lot of the military buildup is happening under the guise of advisers. [This is] one of many ways that the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon are trying to convince the American people that they aren’t really engaged in wars in Syria, and Iraq, and other places. But remember the Korean War was a police action, and the Vietnam War was originally a limited action. Ultimately what we are seeing here is that the Obama administration, the Pentagon, and the White House are using every sleight of hand to make what really is a growing war seem something other than that.
RT:What is general consensus among the American public at the moment?
EP: I would say the general consensus among the public right now is absolutely that the US should not send boots on the ground. Opinion I believe is divided over whether or not the US should play any role. There are some people who feel the airstrikes are ok. Others feel that it is a slippery slope and that nothing is going to be accomplished by further destabilizing the region. What we see there is a unified feeling that the US should not be sending troops all around the world, attempting to police the world, but there’s some divided opinion on the particulars. So far what the Obama administration has been able to play off is the fact that there has been a relatively even divide in the country about whether the US should play any role, which is why they have to mask the moves they are making so carefully.
Ross Caputi, Former US marine, on US invasion in Iraq: “[The US] pushes the Sunni community to turn to the IS for security. Sending combat troops back into Iraq is going to do two things: give legitimacy to IS’s military campaign in Iraq in the eyes of many Iraqis, and increase the Sunni communities reliance on the IS for security.”
RT:Do you think that America should work with Assad and Iran and get rid of ISIS if they are saying that defeating ISIS is the ultimate goal for all sides.
EP: The US should be very careful. Obviously, the Assad government is the legal government technically of Syria. Thus, they are violating Syria and its sovereignty right now by doing what they are doing. If you are going to go into another country’s airspace, you have to coordinate with them. That is international law. But in the broader sense, the US doesn’t have a role to play because the US is not an honest broker. That has to be a Syrian and Iraqi original solution. But the US has done so much to destabilize the region both from its direct wars in Iraq and its proxy wars inside of Syria. The US, having dismembered Iraq, having waged this proxy war in Syria against ISIS, only further inflames many people in the region who see that the role of the US has been so negative. I don’t think that US action, even joint action with Syria and Iraq, holds an answer. I think that ultimately there is no military solution here. There has to be a long term regional solution that deals with a lot of these thorny problems around borders, around ethnicity, around religion. The US is not able to intervene in a way that is constructive.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.