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Pentagon Orders 1,300 Troops to Iraq

Iraqi security forces deploy around the grand Hospital after the expulsion of the Islamic State militants in central Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Islamic State had captured Ramadi in May, in one of its biggest advances since the U.S.-led coalition began striking the group in 2014. Recapturing the city, which is the provincial capital of Anbar, provided a major morale boost for Iraqi forces. (AP Photo)

The Administration doesn’t seem to be making much of this new deployment, and probably for good reason.

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The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will deploy 1,300 soldiers from its 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Iraq this spring in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, according to an Army press release.

The “Strike” brigade will advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces, replacing the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, which will return to Fort Drum, New York.

The “2nd Brigade is ready, trained, well-lead and fully prepared to take on its new mission in support of coalition operations in Iraq,” said Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commander of 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell.

“The brigade recently returned from the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana, where the soldiers validated their outstanding ability to conduct complex operations in any environment and win,” he added. “This ability will be critical in supporting the Iraqi Army.”

Up until just about four years ago, we had 12,000 troops in Iraq who could have stopped ISIS from expanding into Iraq and kept that country whole. Now, a year-and-a-half into Operation Inherent Resolve, Obama is deploying about one-tenth that many — but merely as a replacement for troops who are already there and accomplishing very little.

The Iraqis have stepped up, finally retaking Ramadi after being held by ISIS forces since last May. But ISIS remains strong in Mosul, and efforts to retake that city are hampered by sectarian, ethnic, and religious concerns between the Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Sunni, and Shi’ites. These are the kinds of concerns which could be tamped down (if only temporarily) by a strong American presence, which won’t happen so long as the Administration cycles through small numbers of troops with orders to do not very much.