Posted by Curt on 18 September, 2014 at 4:38 pm. 6 comments already!


Noah Rothman:

It is becoming increasingly clear that almost no one in the press believes that the nearly 1,700 American service men and women currently in Iraq (a number even The New York Timesbelieves will balloon in short order) will not encounter armed resistance.

On Thursday, when White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest was asked how Americans who are asked to serve in what Gen. Martin Dempsey called a “combat advisory role” alongside indigenous forces would react if they were fired upon, Earnest replied with the obvious (via The Washington Times):

President Obama expects U.S. troops to return fire if Islamic State militants shoot at them, the White House said Thursday, as new questions surfaced about the president’s direct role in dictating the rules of engagement in the war in Iraq and Syria.

“Iraq is a very dangerous place, and U.S. military personnel will have the equipment to defend themselves,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “Certainly the commander in chief would expect that the American troops do what is necessary to defend themselves.”

So, it’s not “combat,” per se. If, however, U.S. troops are sent to the front – which they likely will be – and are shot at, they will return fire with the aim of neutralizing the threat. Just don’t call that a combat mission in Iraq. That would run afoul of the White House’s political commitment to the narrative that Barack Obama ended the Iraq War.

These word games, of course, only apply to uniformed American service personnel. Reports indicate that the Pentagon and the CIA are relying on covert operators to execute missions that U.S. troops cannot carry out (via Time Magazine):

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