President Obama made a giant campaign pledge to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq. Presidential candidates are arguing over whether or not they ever supported George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq in the first place, but the fact of the matter is, the U.S. is still engaged in Iraq.
And sadly, we’re still counting fatalities.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed today that we’d lost one of our own in northern Iraq.
As Fox News reports, Carter gave no details about the service member who was killed, but said the death occurred “in the neighborhood” of the city of Irbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss,” Carter told reporters in Stuttgart, Germany, where he was attending a ceremony installing a new commander of U.S. European Command.
Well, at least Carter admits our military is actually in “combat” and not simply “advising” – not that it makes this loss any easier to bear.
A statement by the U.S.-led coalition confirmed that the service member was killed by enemy fire. A defense official told Fox News the American was an adviser to Kurdish Peshmerga troops. He was killed by “direct fire” after ISIS forces penetrated the Peshmerga’s forward line. The American was three to two to three miles behind that front line, the official said.
Three U.S. military personnel have been killed in Iraq as part of the ground fight against the ISIS terror group. The last American death happened in March, when a U.S. Marine was killed in a rocket attack on a firebase in northern Iraq.
This past October, an Army Special Operator was killed during a rescue mission that freed as many as 70 ISIS hostages.
The latest death came following the deployment of a 200-person special operations task force to Irbil, which Carter first announced in December. Last week, President Obama approved the deployment of 450 additional US troops to Iraq and Syria.
For what? To do what? As Col. West wrote recently, 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.
It is always a tragedy to lose one of our warriors on the battlefield, but even more of a tragedy when we don’t exactly know what they were fighting for.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]