Sullivan: White House out of step with Pentagon on status of combat troops in Middle East

WASHINGTON, D.C.— American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, are in the line of fire in the Middle East. Some have lost their lives. U.S. fighter and bomber pilots are consistently flying combat sorties, and our special forces are engaged on the front lines in Syria. However, President Obama and others in his Administration have repeatedly made the false claim that U.S. troops serving in the Middle East are not combat troops. In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) questioned Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford on those claims. Both contradicted White House claims.

Senator Sullivan’s first question was to General Dunford about Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin who was hit by fire while stationed in northern Iraq on March 19. 

"Was he killed in combat?" Senator Sullivan asked.  

"He was killed in combat, Senator," General Dunford responded. 

General Dunford also said Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock was killed in combat in Afghanistan in February. 

"When our [Joint Special Operations Command] troops conduct [counter-terrorism] missions in that part of the world, are they conducting combat operations?" Sullivan pressed. 

“They are Senator,” Dunford answered.

Sullivan also asked if the F22s, F16s, A-10s that are doing bombing missions in Iraq and Syria are conducting combat missions.

“They are Senator,” General Dunford said.  

Senator Sullivan then asked why the administration goes through “these crazy somersaults” to tell the country that are troops aren’t in combat when they are.

“It diminishes the sacrifice of our troops and their families,” Sullivan said.

Read the full story on the hearing from the Military.com here. http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/28/dunford-acknowledges-us-troops-in-iraq-conduct-combat-operations.html