The Pentagon admitted that a “small number” of U.S. ground forces are going in and out of Libya in support of anti-ISIS operations. On August 1, the Pentagon denied that ground troops were involved in the air operations against the terrorists in Libya.
“As with any military operation supporting another force, coordination and synchronization of effort is essential. To that end, a small number of U.S. forces have gone in and out of Libya to exchange information with these local forces in established joint operations centers, and they will continue to do so as we strengthen the fight against [ISIS] and other terrorist organizations,” said Deputy Defense press secretary Gordon Trowbridge.
Those forces are based in joint operations rooms, away from the forward line, to facilitate coordination among Libyan forces fighting ISIS, he said.
The Pentagon announced on Aug. 1 that it had expanded its air war against ISIS into Libya, where its fighters have established a foothold in Sirte.
At the time, defense officials said there were no U.S. forces on the ground supporting the air operations, but did not deny there were U.S. forces on the ground there.
The acknowledgement came after The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that U.S. special operations were “providing direct, on-the-ground support for the first time to fighters battling” ISIS in Libya.
“I can tell you those [reports] are not true,” said Trowbridge. “They are not on the front lines, nor are they on the ground in Sirte.”
Rather, he said, those forces are providing “unique capabilities.”
“Notably intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and precision strikes — that will help enable GNA-aligned forces to make a decisive, strategic advance,” he said.
“These strikes are targeting key ISIL military infrastructure such as tanks, high-caliber weapons, and command and control nodes using precision ordnance,” Trowbridge said, using another acronym for ISIS.
The U.S. has conducted 29 airstrikes against ISIS in Libya since Aug. 1, according to Africa Command.
Dear Leader found no reason — constitutional or otherwise — to inform Congress that we’ve committed ground forces to the fight in Libya. Then again, he hasn’t informed Congress of much of anything related to the war against ISIS so it’s not surprising he isn’t starting now.
If Special Forces are helping in the targeting of tanks and high-caliber weapons, chances are that they are lasing the targets for our missiles and bombs. To do that, you have to be close enough to the front to see the target. So when the Pentagon says they’re “not on the front lines,” it’s a question of semantics.
For a man who continues to insist military action is not the answer to defeating terrorism, he certainly is committing American forces in an awful lot of places.