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US military chief grapples with Iraq — again

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey looks on during a press conference in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on March 9, 2015For much of the past two decades the US military has been waging war in Iraq. General Martin Dempsey has experienced first hand America’s tortuous history in Iraq, from the 1991 Gulf War’s swift victory to the troubled occupation after the 2003 US invasion. As Washington’s top-ranking officer, Dempsey, 62, expected to leave Iraq behind to focus on new threats. This month, Dempsey flew to Baghdad and found himself confronted by a problem that vexed him in the past — the country’s volatile sectarian split.

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