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Odierno Warns Airstrikes Aren't 'End-All Solution' in ISIS Battle

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WIESBADEN, Germany – The U.S. Army's chief of staff spoke for the first time about ISIS in Iraq, warning Wednesday that American airstrikes will not be an "end-all solution" to the threat and that the military stands ready to respond by whatever means necessary. President Barack Obama has stressed that there will be no American combat troops in Iraq, but on Tuesday his top military adviser Gen. Martin Dempsey clouded the message by saying he might recommend just that if it becomes clear that current measures are not working.

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, told reporters Wednesday that the military is “constantly conducting assessments” in order to best advise the president toward achieving his goal of destroying ISIS. When asked about Dempsey's remarks regarding U.S. ground troops in Iraq, he replied: “As we go down the road, if we think the way to do that might have to be the described then we will recommend that.” He added: "I would say, airstrikes in the beginning were necessary to stop the advancement and the gains that ISIS was making, it will not be the end-all solution inside of Iraq." Describing ISIS as a "long-term threat," Odierno added that Iraqi forces must be “capable of going after them” in order to defeat the militants. “That is why the training, our ability to have advisers to train them to do this, is incredibly important,” Odierno said, criticizing Iraq’s outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the degradation of the country’s security forces, who fled their posts in droves as ISIS advanced.

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 Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee with other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on May 6. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

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