There are two words folks in the military hate to hear: mission creep. And if you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening in Iraq, we are there.
It’s funny, back in 2009, the commander on the ground in Iraq, General Lloyd Austin, who went onto become the CENTCOM commander, recommended to President Obama a residual force of 10- to15,000 to train and maintain the security in Iraq. It would have been their mission to provide the outer cordon for Iraq’s stability precluding any influencing from Iran, Syria, and re-insertion and resurgence of Islamic jihadists. We all know the response from Obama: it was Bush’s fault. Isn’t it amazing that when it suits Obama’s agenda, he follows Bush’s direction and doesn’t make an individual assessment as commander in chief?
So now we have ISIS. And as reported by Fox News, “The U.S. has agreed to deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq and to send Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, U.S. defense officials said Monday.
The decisions reflect weeks of discussions with commanders and Iraqi leaders, and a decision by President Barack Obama to increase the authorized troop level in Iraq by 217 forces — or from 3,870 to 4,087.
The new plan, expected for weeks, would mark the first major increase in U.S. forces in nearly a year. Last June the Obama administration announced that hundreds of troops would be deployed to help the Iraqis retake Ramadi — a goal they accomplished at the end of the year.
Of the additional troops, most would be Army special forces, who have been used all along to advise and assist the Iraqis. The remainder would include some trainers, security forces for the advisers, and more maintenance teams for the Apaches. The increased military support comes as the U.S.-led coalition looks to better enable local Iraqi and Syrian forces to retake the key cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.”
We recently shared with you an interesting tidbit about the number of senior general officers serving in Iraq — quite top heavy for a deployed force of only 4,087. And let’s be honest, deploying Apache helicopters isn’t about training anyone; it’s an offensive weapon system.
So where is the liberal progressive media addressing the fact that Obama is conducting combat operations in Iraq — which he had definitively stated were ended in that theater of operations?
Also, we shared with you the report of ISIS losing ground in Syria — namely Palmyra — due to the resurging Syrian Army backed by the Iranian Quds force and Russian fighter aircraft. The other pressure coming against ISIS is at the hands of the Kurdish Peshmerga, who have received no direct support from the Obama administration. As a result, the Kurds have gone to Russia for additional support.
“The advise-and-assist teams — made up of about a dozen troops each — would embed with Iraqi brigades and battalions, putting them closer to the fight, and at greater risk from mortars and rocket fire. They would have security forces with them.
Putting the U.S. teams with Iraqi forces closer to the battlefront will allow them to provide more tactical combat advice as the Iraqi units move toward Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. Until now, U.S. advisers have worked with the Iraqis at the headquarters level, well back from the front lines.”
We shared with you the story three weeks ago about the ISIS attack on a U.S. firebase where a Marine was killed and nine others wounded. My point is that regardless of the weapons and troops being deployed, if they don’t have the correct rules of engagement, they’re only being thrown into a cauldron of fire with their hands tied.
I pray this isn’t just another episode in the Obama playbook of appearing to do something in order to create the optics, but in truth not doing anything. ISIS should have been crushed long ago, and not been dismissed as a jayvee team. The most effective ground combat formation is the Kurdish Peshmerga, who would never have abandoned and surrendered U.S. combat equipment. The correct course of action is to fight directly with the Kurds, not with the Iranian proxy army in Iraq. And we already know the Iranian-backed Shiite militias have been threatening our deployed forces in Iraq.
Yes, I want ISIS gone, eradicated, and their base of operations and sanctuary decimated. I want to see their ideology delegitimized and undermined. I want to see their flow of resources, men, and materiel interdicted, causing their slow death. What I do not see is a concerted strategic plan, just the drip, drip, drip of mission creep and the slow feed of more American combat resources into a mission Obama will not refer to as combat.
This is a critical moment for our nation. The arrayed enemies realize they have these final months of Obama’s reign to advance their interests. If they sense hesitation, they will continue their provocative actions, such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are doing.
The politics of optics means little to despots and dictators. They only respond to strength and might, not rhetoric — and certainly not mission creep. Sure, we can tout killing a leader here and there, but in the end, that doesn’t defeat a determined enemy.