It was August 28, 2014, when President Obama stated, “We don’t have a strategy yet, we need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress.”
Obama doubled-down on that claim, saying nearly the same thing at the recent G7 Summit in Germany, “We don’t have yet a complete strategy” he commented when asked about the achievements of the U.S.-led coalition in the battle against ISIL.
Now suddenly, following a new FOX News poll showing that 71 percent of those asked believe the president doesn’t have a clear strategy, the White House is planning to send another 450 more troops to Iraq. The administration says this will increase the number of training sites in Iraq from four to five and ‘enable’ Sunni’s to join the fight.
The decision, the Pentagon said in a statement, “does not represent a change in mission, but rather adds another location for DoD to conduct similar activities in more areas in Iraq. U.S. forces continue to perform an advisory, training, and support role and are not conducting offensive ground combat operations.”
Right now, the U.S. has 3,080 troops in Iraq, just under the cap of 3,100. The new order will bring that level to about 3,550.
This means Obama’s broken another promise – this one about ‘mission creep” or rather the gradual shift in goals during the course of a military campaign, which usually resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment.
In September 2014 Obama told troops at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida: “The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission. As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
But as Jason Ditz of Anti-War.com writes: “The new troops are being labeled “trainers,” but are likely to be among those that Pentagon officials are openly talking about “embedding” on the front lines, meaning they’d be sent into direct combat.”
“As losses have mounted in Iraq and Syria, with ISIS taking more and more cities, the Pentagon has repeatedly rejected the idea that the strategy was at all flawed, and has tried to blame Iraqi troops for not winning more. The U.S. appears to be doubling down on this narrative by adding troops,” writes Ditz.
His assessment is on-the-mark as the State Department says there are plans to deliver 1,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq in the coming weeks, meaning the Obama Administration learned nothing from the recent ‘equipment dump’ made by the Iraqi’s as they fled from ISIL in Ramadi.