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John Kirby: Why Boots On The Ground Are Not Really Boots On The Ground

What exactly does ‘boots on the ground’ mean to the US State Dept?

John Kirby

US troops are in Syria and the Pentagon has sent 250 more despite repeated promises to the contrary.

President Obama confirmed plans to dramatically increase the American troop presence in Syria by deploying the additional 250 personnel, saying that the troops would help drive out ISIS.

But according to the US State Department spokesman John Kirby, those soldiers wearing boots in Syria aren’t actually “boots on the ground.”

Russia Today reports:

In 2013, Obama promised not to put any “American boots on the ground in Syria.”

The president repeated that claim in a September 2014 interview on ‘Meet the Press’.

“The notion that the United States should be putting boots on the ground, I think would be a profound mistake. And I want to be very clear and very explicit about that,” Obama said on September 7, 2014.

Three days later, he reiterated that point in an address to the American people, promising that US troops would not fight in Syria.

On Monday, however, State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted that the US has boots on the ground in Syria… but that they are not there as boots on the ground.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pressed Kirby on the issue.

“For months and months and months, the mantra from the president and everyone else in the administration has been the no boots on the ground, and how…” Lee said.

“That is not true,” Kirby replied, cutting him off.

“What?” Lee exclaimed.

“It’s just not true, Matt. It’s just not true,” Kirby said. “I just flatly, absolutely disagree with you,” the spokesman said while pounding his fist on the podium.