Obama announces deployment of up to 300 military advisers to Iraq
By End the Lie
Despite saying no U.S. troops would be deployed, President Obama said Thursday that he is sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to assist the government in their fight against Islamist militants.
This announcement also comes despite Obama’s claim that he would not provide military assistance unless the Iraqi government made tangible steps toward reform.
In total, Obama’s announcement could put about 600 additional U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, according to the Associated Press.
The 300 military advisers announced Thursday would join as many as 275 troops being placed in and around Iraq to provide support and security for American interests including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“We have had advisers in Iraq through our embassy and we are prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisers — up to 300 — to assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward,” Obama said, according to CNN.
“American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well,” the president said.
The president was referring to militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have been making rapid gains in Iraq.
Obama left the possibility of further military action by the U.S. on the table.
He said that his strategy meant that “going forward, we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it.”
CNN states that this language signals possible air strikes against ISIS militants.
Despite the administration’s claims that this move does not mean boots on the ground, CNN military analyst Rick Francona insists it means just that.
“This is the first step. This is how you get drawn into these situations,” Francona said.
“The term military adviser evokes memories of the Vietnam War, when the U.S. government used that label for initial American forces sent over in what ended up as a long and costly engagement,” CNN noted.
Obama insisted that U.S. troops would not be returning to combat.
“I think we always have to guard against mission creep. So, let me repeat what I’ve said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again,” he said.
The president maintained that the problem currently facing Iraq cannot be solved by a massive influx of American troops.
“We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq,” Obama said to reporters at the White House. “Ultimately, this is something that is going to have to be solved by Iraqis.”
However, U.S. officials acknowledged to CNN that the American military advisers would likely be placed in locations in which they will face danger.
Part of the new U.S. involvement in Iraq will be making efforts to improve Iraqi intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as well as regional diplomatic efforts spearheaded by Secretary of State John Kerry.