THE PENTAGON — Following outrage from Gold Star families over his comments on Ramadi, Iraq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey clarified his remarks in a press conference by downplaying the strategic significance of Ramadi, Fallujah, Mosul, Baghdad, Tikrit, and the rest of the country.
“First I would like to apologize for any hurt or confusion my comments about Ramadi may have caused. It was not my intention to create controversy or downplay the sacrifices of anyone who may or may not have served there,” Dempsey said. “What I meant to say was that the entire country of Iraq as a whole is not strategically significant to our interests in the region.”
The Chairman pointed out that ISIS is primarily concerned with Syria and expansions into Afghanistan, and that what little fighting has taken place in Iraq was most likely the result of local sectarian tensions.
“While the Pentagon naturally hopes that Iraq will not fall to ISIL, on the global scale it wouldn’t necessarily hurt the war effort,” he continued, before emphasizing once again that battling the militants would in no way ever include American troops on the ground like "that debacle from 2003."
The general concluded his remarks by saying that he hoped his comments helped resolve any misunderstandings about his position, and he expressed hope that the Army would get back to its number one priority of fighting sexism in the combat arms.