President Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of an additional 350 troops to Iraq in response to a State Department request last week for more protection for U.S. personnel and facilities in Baghdad.
“These additional forces will not serve in a combat role,” the White House said.
A Pentagon statement said the new deployments “will come from within the U.S. Central Command area of operations and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters and an air liaison team.”
The new order brings to more than 1,100 the total number of U.S. military personnel authorized for Iraq since early June, when Islamic State forces began a blitz across the country, seizing towns and cities in the northwest and central parts of the country.
Of that number, a total of 820 are now responsible for protecting the U.S. Embassy and the airport in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Irbil in the northern Kurdish region…
Separately, Obama authorized 300 troops to Baghdad and Irbil to assess and assist Iraqi and Kurdish security forces fighting the militants. The 300, not all of whom have been deployed, have been sent to joint operating centers in Baghdad and in Irbil, where they are helping to direct a U.S. air campaign that has conducted 124 airstrikes against Islamic State forces in northern Iraq.
Obviously there’s no combat involved in any of that. We had US personnel on Sinjar, no combat risk there. We have 820 people there to protect diplomatic facilities and Baghdad airport.
The ridiculous coyness is dishonest and wrong. The US is bombing ISIS, but the White House won’t use the “W” word. Obama did this before when he “withdrew” while leaving more troops than the US had in Vietnam as “advisers”. Despite the unpopularity of the Iraq War, the American people are willing to accept the need to deal with ISIS, but they don’t like being lied to.
Obama puts a premium on playing word games and on technicalities even when it isn’t necessary and isn’t accomplishing anything.