The Widdershins

Mission creep or slippery slope?

Posted on: July 2, 2014


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).

Apache attack helicopter

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.





20 Responses to "Mission creep or slippery slope?"

It looks like a slippery slope. Ugh. I am so sick of Iraq. And what the hell do we need 5,000 people there for? I’m sure those pallets of billions of cash are long gone. What a disaster. I think Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Wofie, et al, are war criminals.

So another 200 people are going to whip this into shape? Holy crap. It looks like jerusalem is about to erupt also.

@1: I’ve never figured out a 5000 person embassy either annie. That’s another legacy of Dubya and his crowd.

chat don’t forget this little key phrase:

in assessing how many army special forces, marines and other uniformed personnel are sufficient for the missions he wants executed.

It’s going to be a few here, a few there and watch the numbers go up. Also, those 200 are gonna protect the Baghdad airport? Snort!

Oh and after I did the post I found out that yes, the helo’s going over there will be Apache attach copters.

Just got this in an email and I agree totally.

200 people are likely to be overrun and massacred.

The embassy compound is larger than Vatican City and I don’t for a moment think all those 5,000 are engaged in diplomacy. Not to make excuses for Obama, but he can’t have another Benghazi otherwise his presidency would be over.

My guess, based upon what I’m reading, is that the Iraqi skies are buzzing like a bee swarm from drones. By probably this weekend, we are going to be raining hellfire down on ISIS. As bad as this is to say and I freely admit it is bad to say, the drone strike that would do more to cure this problem would be on the Iraqi presidential palace. Maliki has to go — he’s incompetent and he’s placating his former landlords, the Iranian mullahs.

Prolix said: I don’t for a moment think all those 5,000 are engaged in diplomacy

Oh no indeed not! And that one particular drone strike might not be a bad idea.

Nobody here but us diplomats. Nothing to see here, move along,

@7 Yes, I think we can all agree there is a lot going on other than diplomacy. That’s true in all embassies, to a degree, and especially in a war zone. I also think it’s so unsafe there that the embassy complex is housing anyone who does anything, if they can even get civilians to work in Iraq. Who would volunteer to work there otherwise?

@Mary Luke: Reading articles about this embassy writers will still reference that it is in “the Green Zone“! Ha! That may have made a difference when we were occupying the country but what’s so special about it now?

I’ll swan….Judge Judy hears a case involving Grindr. 😆

I had to look that one up.

Very popular amongst some folks. Me, I’d be scared to death.

I read a week or so ago that they were evacuating some personnel from the embassy in Baghdad.

Re: Mary Lukes comment: my husband works for the construction dept at LAUSD. He has met many men in various fields of construction (from the private companies that LAUSD hires), that have gone to the Middle East to work in countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iraq, and others. They all tell horror stories about the quality of life and the terrible building standards. Many of these guys are hired to teach the ME contractors proper building principles and safety for their employees. What happens is they are furious at having an American try to teach them their jobs. Hubbie could go on for hours about the details. And none of these men go back for a second contract.

annie@16: I heard similar stories from a couple of guys who worked for Fluor. They had rented a house in our neighborhood when they were working on an oil-refinery expansion. They were safety engineers and said it was miserable over there.

I spent two glorious years in Saudi. I learned a great deal, I got to travel, and never for a moment considered reupping.

Chat, were you a nurse there? Well, there are a few more countries I’d like to visit in my life, but I’m skipping the ME. The building codes here in Cali are some of the strictest in the world, and I like that. From what hubs has heard, the buildings there are really unsafe. In Dubai, they built all their skyscrapers without providing appropriate sewage pipes and now they supposedly have convoys of big rigs trucking out the sewage every day! They cause huge traffic problems and some of the drivers have been known to dump the sewage in canals that go directly to the ocean, so it is unsafe to swim in the water there.

Fredster, one of my nieces married a safety engineer and he has spent a lot of time in China lately teaching safety. That’s another country that has bad building practices. There are pix online that show high rises toppling over.

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