Retiring Gen. Odierno: Consider Embedding US Soldiers Against ISIS

Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno is discussing the current challenges the Army faces during a Pentagon briefing at the Pentagon on August 12, 2015.


The four-star general said he is also “greatly” concerned by the prospect of Russian Federation violating the sovereignty of Baltic states that are members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which would require the U.S. military to come to their defense under Article V of the organization’s founding treaty.

“If we find in the next several months we’re not making the progress that we have, we should probably absolutely consider embedding some soldiers and see if that will make a difference”, Odierno said Wednesday at his final news conference, Stars and Stripes reports.

He said a U.S.-led bombing campaign had helped blunt the offensive by Islamic State, which overran the northwestern part of Iraq last year, but said that “right now we are kind of in a stalemate, frankly”.

Odierno commanded the 4th Infantry Division at the outset of the Iraq war and said it was “frustrating” to see what happened in Baghdad after U.S. forces withdrew in 2011. “I think that’s an option we should present to the president”.

A top military commander Wednesday defended President Barack Obama against Republican charges that his pullout from Iraq gave rise to the Islamic State.

A number of GOP presidential candidates, most recently President Bush’s brother Jeb, have blamed the success of the Islamic State on the withdrawal of the U.S. troops. “I think that we will probably run another course in November that will be integrated – that’s where we’re headed right now”, he said.

“The U.S. can not solve this problem for the region”, he said.

Asked if he saw any possibility of reconciliation between the two, Odierno said “It’s becoming more hard by the day” and pointed to a future in which “Iraq might not look like it did in the past”.


American combat forces could probably defeat ISIS, Odierno said, but within months after leaving, separatists would likely rise again without political and economic improvements. And we have to keep working, because a true deterrent is one where people are anxious that if they do conduct operations, there will be some level of response. “And we must be aware of that, and we must assume that some of the money they get if the sanctions are lifted will be used to continue some of this activity”, he said.

A female Army Ranger student crossed the Yellow River on a rope bridge last Tuesday Camp James E. Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base in Florida