Via the Associated Press:
The U.S. has agreed to deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq and to send eight Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, the first major increase in U.S. forces in nearly a year, U.S. defense officials said Monday.
The uptick in American fighting forces – and the decision to put them closer to the front lines – is designed to help Iraqi forces as they move to retake the key northern city of Mosul.
Speaking to reporters Monday in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the decision to move U.S. advisers to the Iraqi brigade and battalion level will put them “closer to the action,” but he said they will have security forces with them and the U.S. will do what’s needed to reduce the risks.
So that’s how this works. President Obama makes a big deal out of “ending” the war in Iraq, receives adulation from the great unwashed for doing so, and then gets a pass on slowly re-upping the American military presence there.
If there is anything that federal withholding tax has taught us, it’s that Americans won’t be outraged by incremental injustices. The administration obviously hopes that this “little bit at a time with ever-increasing involvement” approach will go largely unnoticed by a public that’s busy being obsessed with where .3% of the population will go to the bathroom.
Last summer, there were “no plans” to send any more troops. Now there will be more, and they’ll be “closer to the action,” which was something the public was told would be avoided.
Whatever the troop levels end up being when Obama finally leaves office, it’s almost certain that the number will be higher than he planned and that they will be seeing more involvement in Iraq. The mess for the next president will be a rather significant one to clean up, an unlikely scenario if America elects someone who thinks climate change is a bigger threat than ISIS.