Boots on the Ground: 

"Boots on the Ground" by Al Jazeera English is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

When are American soldiers not really engaged in combat?

Over the past week it was revealed that Congress is considering legislation that will strengthen current conscription registration requirements and could even include women. It seems that the US armed services can no longer obtain enough volunteers to meet their needs and are getting desperate given the wars both ongoing and planned by the National Security State. The Pentagon planners note how the wars in Gaza and Ukraine are also escalating alarmingly and China and Russia are being targeted over the horizon. But when Joe Biden is able to compose himself enough to express something that he considers to be an elemental truth he generally limits himself to a few words that he has memorized. One of my favorites is the empty of meaning expression “No boots on the ground,” meaning that the United States will not rush willy nilly into any of the wars it has started recently by engaging actual American armed forces in hand-to-hand combat. Of course, the narrative would work better if Old Joe were not lying about what he has been up to secretly in both Israel-Gaza and Ukraine. One recalls that Joe made a morale boosting trip to support Israel back in October 2023 where he was photographed together with a number of US Delta Force special ops soldiers in full combat gear. The White House actually posted the picture on its website before deleting it together with a description of the photo reading “In Israel, President Biden met with first responders to thank them for their bravery and the work they’re doing in response to the Hamas terrorist attacks.” It was explained to the media at the time that the men were there to provide assistance to Israel in its “defending itself” against Hamas but they were apparently first responders, whatever that was supposed to mean, not combat soldiers.

A problem quickly developed when it was also observed by some military veterans that the photos were of such a quality as to enable the identification of the soldiers, a definite no-no for a covert unit involved in sensitive under-cover operations. Fox News contributor Sara Carter questioned “Is the White House really this stupid or are they just trying to get people targeted? This is totally unacceptable… These operators are required to maintain a level of discretion that this administration has completely disregarded. I would know, my husband is a retired operator. They are elite trained fighters and something as simple as facial ID recognition is putting them in direct threat by adversaries. How did this happen White House?” The photo faux pas also demonstrated that Biden was a liar when he denied having made the risky decision to put “boots on the ground.”

Beyond that blunder, it has already been observed by numerous sources that the White House has been secretly sending weapons and money to both Israel and Ukraine and it is also generally known that the equipment is frequently accompanied by soldiers and civilian contractors who are along for the ride to set the stuff up and provide minimal training in its use. That is referred to in military slang as SOP or “standard operating procedure” and it is to be assumed that the personnel are wearing their “boots” or whatever attire they choose to put on their feet.

And then there is the now infamous pontoon pier constructed at great cost of $320 million by the US military which broke after brief use and may have been used to insert Israeli commandos that slaughtered 274 Palestinians in the controversial June 8th hostage rescue at Nuseirat refugee camp. Claims that Israel used the US pontoon pier are supported by a photo that shows an Israeli helicopter landing near the structure, but the evidence has been disputed by Washington, which claims that the pier is only used for humanitarian relief. That, of course, is debatable and Prime Minister Netanyahu has suggested that it could also be used to deport Palestinians. Craig Mokhiber, an American former United Nations human rights official and a specialist in international human rights law, has asked the critical question on X: “Was the US ‘humanitarian’ pier used as a launching point for the Al-Nuseirat massacre (which could not happen without US collaboration)? And what role did US forces play on the ground (besides arming and providing diplomatic cover for the IOF)?” Adding to the confusion, is an interview in which the perpetually dim Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin seemed confused over whether the soldiers building the structure would be authorized to shoot back if came under fire when at work or while running the completed operation. Would they constitute “Boots on the Ground?”

In addition to that, the United States has sizable and active embassies in both countries that currently include enlarged Defense Attache Offices, which incorporate both military personnel and civilians. And don’t be fooled by the civilians as many of them are special ops or intelligence types under cover as State Department staff. In both places, the DATT personnel are actively engaged in the wars being fought by Volodymyr Zelensky from Kiev and Benjamin Netanyahu from Jerusalem by providing intelligence and targeting information as well as in advising their Ukrainian counterparts. In both cases the US has given its “allies” a carte blanche approval to use whatever weapons they have in their arsenals to directly target their opponents in such a fashion as to guarantee an escalation of the conflicts. In other words, in spite of the White House denial that the US is actually engaged as combatants in two wars that were unnecessary in the first place, the evidence is in place suggesting that the United States is fully involved as a belligerent, a fact that is well known both to the Russians, who have commented on the threat from NATO and have warned of their own possibly nuclear response, as well as to the Palestinians and Hamas.

Indeed, in a break with the general silence on covert operations, it is now being reported that the United States provided considerable intelligence on the hostages before Israel’s rescue operation at Nuseirat camp. A team of American hostage recovery specialists were stationed in Israel to aid the Israeli military’s effort to rescue the four captives by providing signals intelligence and other logistical support. The Pentagon and the CIA have been providing information collected from drone flights over Gaza, communications intercepts and other sources about the potential location of hostages including intelligence from the air and cyberspace that Israel apparently cannot collect on its own. The reporting also has revealed that intelligence collection and analysis teams from both the United States and Britain have been in Israel since the start of the war, assisting Israeli intelligence in collecting and analyzing information related to the hostages, some of them dual national Israeli citizens from both the UK and US.

Moving on to Central Europe and given the persistent warnings coming from Moscow over US and NATO’s direct role in the Ukraine war, Washington is currently in a mild panic over the Russian decision to send one of its naval frigates and a nuclear powered missile armed submarine as well as two support vessels on a visit to Cuba to show the flag, as it were, 90 miles from the continental US. One recalls that when Russia moved its forces into Cuba over sixty years ago it resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis which could have turned into a nuclear war were it not for some common sense coupled to adroit diplomacy by President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Common sense, unfortunately, is currently lacking in the White House so it is quite possible that something completely nutty will result from the impasse which is further complicated by the 10 year Bilateral Security Agreement that Joe Biden signed with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 meeting in Italy last week. What it commits Washington to do is by no means clear.

Like it or not, the United States is directly involved in two wars that it could have avoided and the Biden Administration is deeply in denial over what is taking place. Once upon a time the level of US engagement would have guaranteed a counter-attack from the opponent, but given the availability of nuclear weapons in the hands of many of the players there is appropriately a certain reluctance to engage in open and sustained warfare in the old-fashioned way. That is to the good. One can only hope that all parties involved will get tired of the game before too long and will resort to another old-time value, namely diplomacy to bring about a ceasefire and peace settlements.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is .