Mission creep or slippery slope?
Posted July 2, 2014on:
Good Hump Day to you Widdershins. So, are we going back for a do-over in Iraq? Sure seems like it. In a letter to the Speaker and the president of the Senate, Obama said (bolding is mine)
As I previously reported on June 16, 2014, U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In light of the security situation in Baghdad, I have ordered up to approximately 200 additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Iraq to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy, its support facilities, and the Baghdad International Airport. This force consists of additional security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support.
This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat. This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.
Now, a report from CBS News states that there are 300 more troops being sent. The difference between the two numbers comes from 200 being sent directly there and then another 100 troops that came, according to RADM John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary from troops “who had been on standby in the Middle East since mid-June…” Now these numbers are separate and in addition to the 300 “military advisers” who were sent earlier in the month. And further that doesn’t count the 275 special forces members who were sent to earlier to “provide support and security to Americans and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.” And then these numbers don’t include a contingent of 100 Marines and soldiers sent to assist with Embassy security…the embassy which is the largest diplomatic post we have and which has around 5000 personnel there. To quote further from the last reference:
The U.S. also has a permanent group of about 100 military personnel in the Office of Security Cooperation, at the U.S. Embassy, to coordinate U.S. military sales.
Sales? Sales of what, as if we don’t have an idea. (snort)
Now in an article from The Guardian, some of the phrases make the troop deployment sound, shall we say, a bit more “fluid”.
Officially, the missions the US military is launching in Baghdad are static, unchanging and defined. Protect the US embassy and other American personnel in Iraq. Assess the threat from the Islamic State and the performance of the Iraqi military. Figure out what steps the Pentagon next ought to take to aid Iraq through its crisis.
Unofficially, the Pentagon is indicating that the number of troops in Iraq is likely to continue the incremental expansion that President Barack Obama launched last month after Islamic State forces overran Sunni areas of the country.
A day after the Pentagon announced an additional 300 US troops arrived in Iraq to secure the embassy, its press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, contended that Obama needs “flexibility” in assessing how many army special forces, marines and other uniformed personnel are sufficient for the missions he wants executed.
“There’s no mission creep. The missions haven’t changed. Some of the numbers have been added in the security assistance realm,” Kirby said Tuesday.
Add in further that the Iraqis (the P.M. “Malarkey”) have stated they don’t want our rotary wing aircraft and drones. Oh no, he wants fighter jets. And he’s not too picky about who sends them in. According to this piece from The Daily Beast:
Vladimir Putin has already delivered not only fighter jets but also the pilots needed to fly them, diplomatic sources told The Daily Beast.
Now the general in charge of the Iraqi Air Force has said the Russians will assist for a few days and then their trainers will leave. The general said Iraq had plenty of pilots who could fly the Su-25 fighter. As The Daily Beast article pointed out:
Neither Russia nor Iraq as explained how the Iraqi air force could possibly have pilots trained and ready to fly the Russian fighters. The Su-25 planes were used in the Iraq-Iran war but have not been employed in Iraq since at least 2002, when Iraq’s military was controlled by the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein.
I don’t think Putin has any noble ideas of wanting to help the Iraqis especially. It’s more like this is an opportunity for him to thumb his nose at the U.S. If we can’t get assistance there fast enough, he’ll jump into the fray and bring what “Malarkey” wants: fighter jets (and the pilots to fly them).
Personally, I don’t care what the good Admiral says about there being no “mission creep”. Look at the numbers of troops going over there and look at them increasing. From starting out with advisers, we’re noe sending troops equipped for combat. We’re sending helicopters and drones-some armed. Are we sending Apache attack helos? Who knows but I bet we are.
I’m sorry but I don’t want us spending any more treasure or blood supporting the Iraqis and their problems, no matter what Cheney, McCain, Wolfowitz and the other neocons say. Those problems are of their own making. Let “Malarkey” work out a coalition government with the Sunnis. He brought these problems on himself.
Open thread, as always.
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