WASHINGTON — In one of the Islamic State’s first responses to President Obama’s declaration that he would “degrade and ultimately destroy” it, the group released a short video late Tuesday in which it appeared to say that its militants would kill American ground forces should President Obama deploy them.
The timing of the video’s release was curious. Just hours earlier, President Obama’s top military adviser had told Congress that he would recommend calling out American troops against the Islamic State if the current airstrike campaign was not sufficient — even though Mr. Obama has ruled out that option.
The clip is only 52 seconds long and is billed as a preview for a longer video. With slow-motion replay, quick edits and high-quality video images, it looks like a Hollywood trailer.
It begins with American tanks and troops under attack by fire and American soldiers carrying a wounded comrade into an armored vehicle. The images flick by, including a shot of the “Mission Accomplished” banner that served as a backdrop on the day President George W. Bush landed on an aircraft carrier six weeks after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. That is followed by shots of Mr. Obama and the White House at night.
In the background, Mr. Obama is heard saying, “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.” The screen goes dark, followed by a clip of what appears to be a militant for the group who is preparing to kill men on their knees.
The words “Flames of War” appear, with the phrase “Fighting has just begun” below. It ends: “Coming Soon.”
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States and a coalition of nations would defeat the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, which has seized territory across Syria and northern Iraq. But he would not rule out asking Mr. Obama to send American troops to fight the militants on the ground.
In an attempt to quell fears of another Iraq war, President Obama promised in his address to the nation last Wednesday that American ground troops would not be involved in the fighting.