The United States is considering sending a small number of special operations forces to Syria and attack helicopters to Iraq as it weighs options to build momentum in the battle against Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama, deeply averse to over-committing American troops to unpopular wars in the Middle East, could view some of the options as more viable than others as he approaches the final stretch of his presidency.
Still, Obama’s administration is under pressure to ramp up America’s effort, particularly after the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State in May and the failure of a U.S. military program to train and arm thousands of Syrian rebels.
Two U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations, said any deployments would be narrowly tailored, seeking to advance specific, limited military objectives in both Iraq and Syria.
In the end, the Obama administration’s hurry to announce departures from Iraq and Afghanistan will probably end up endangering American military lives for a much longer time than if the forces had stayed and continued to train the locals.
As we saw again last week, even a limited presence can be perilous to American forces, maybe even more so. However, this administration receives some sort of emotional comfort from a more hazardous piecemeal approach.
When airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq were announced, there was a lot of hoopla about “no boots on the ground,” even though the public and many in the military knew it would be necessary.
If this administration has been right about anything having to do with the military or foreign policy, it’s a mystery to most of us.
Remember that when the press talks about various Republican presidential candidates not having enough experience.