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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 30th, 2014
06:49 PM ET

General: Removing option of U.S. troops may doom mission to fail

(CNN) - The United States' "self-imposed limitation" of no U.S. troops on the ground to combat ISIS in Syria and Iraq will "come to haunt us," says retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt.

"The larger issue is this notion that we've taken any type of U.S. support on the ground off the table. That means probably the long pole in the tent in our strategy, if not the fatal flaw, is reliance on foreign rebels to be winning this war for us and I think that's going to come to haunt us," the former deputy director for plans and strategy at CENTCOM told CNN's Jake Tapper.

The Obama administration has remained steadfast that there will be no U.S. military ground forces called to action.  And though a U.S.-led coalition continues to intensify its airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, on Monday, Major General Jeffrey Harrigian told reporters that ISIS is "now dispersing themselves to allow themselves situations to be more survivable, if you will, which requires us to work harder to locate them."

Kimmitt believes this should come as no surprise.

"The strategy of relying on air alone - without it being directed by perhaps U.S. Special Forces, perhaps by Special Forces JTAC's - has put us in the dilemma now where the enemy is adapting to what we're doing," Kimmitt said. "Nobody should be surprised that they are adapting to the air strikes. That's exactly what you'd expect the enemy to do on the ground. My question is, how are we going to adapt to the point where the enemy is now focused on how we're operating."

"Warfare is a matter of adapting and re-adapting to what the enemy is doing. That's certainly what they are doing to us! I question whether we're doing that to them."

For more of our interview with Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, watch the video above.

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