Pentagon Planning More 'Boots on the Ground' in Iraq
January 25, 2016
According to Pentagon chief Ash Carter, the US plans to increase the number of troops in Iraq as it seeks to "accelerate" its campaign to "crush" Islamic State in the region. Carter did not give an exact number, but said the number of US personnel is going "to increase greatly as the momentum of the effort increases."
Pentagon to Increase Number of US Troops in Iraq;
Carter Discusses 'Accelerating' ISIS Campaign
(January 21, 2016) -- The US plans to increase the number of troops in Iraq as it seeks to "accelerate" its campaign to "crush" Islamic State in the region, the Pentagon chief said. Ash Carter met with his French partner seeking ways to bring Arab states "in the game," too.
Aside from his bilateral meeting with his counterpart and "good friend," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the US Defense Secretary Carter sat down for the first with seven major members of the anti-Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) coalition. The "face-to-face meeting" included Britain, Germany, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands, all trying to figure out in what ways they could boost their fight against Islamic militants.
"The object of today is to satisfy ourselves that the balance of the campaign is right . . . and that we can now capitalize on the setbacks Daesh has suffered in Iraq and move on to tighten the noose around the head of the snake in Syria in Raqqa," British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told reporters.
The coalition's major goal right now is to target and destroy IS headquarters in Iraq and Syria while also combating their supporters worldwide, "everywhere its metastasis have spread around the world," the Pentagon stressed.
"We're doing this by providing a plan, clear leadership and the power of a global coalition wielding a suite of capabilities [that include] airstrikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment, mobility and logistics, and training, advice and assistance," Carter said.
The counter-IS campaign is a running theme of Carter's trip to Paris and Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, using it as an "opportunity to talk to some of those same leaders about the same topics."
Speaking to reporters while en route to Paris, Carter stressed that the military campaign is also about "protecting the American homeland." He also laid out some of the Pentagon's plans regarding the coalition and its strategy.
Citing the recent success in taking the city of Ramadi back from the Islamic militants, Carter said he "expects" the number of additional US advisers in Iraq to increase, as well as "the variety of the training they're giving."
"So for example, as territory is retaken from IS, as moving up and ultimately including Mosul, there are going to need to be not just ground forces that can seize territory, but police forces that can keep security," the Defense Secretary said.
Carter did not give an exact number, but said the number of US personnel is going "to increase greatly as the momentum of the effort increases." He stressed that the reinforcement would involve not only the US, but also its coalition partners. In this regard, Carter said that one of his goals is to bring Arab countries -- "Arabs and Sunni Arabs" -- into the military campaign, as they can be "an enormous contribution to this."
"I want to hear from my counterparts over the next couple of days -- how can we get them in the game. I have long said that Arabs and Sunni Arabs need to get in the game," Carter said on Tuesday.
In February, defense ministers from 26 counter-ISIS coalition nations, plus Iraq, are going to meet in Brussels, all together for the first time, to continue discussions on how to "hasten" the defeat of jihadists.
"Every nation must come prepared to discuss further contributions to the fight," Carter said, "and I will not hesitate to engage and challenge current and prospective members of the coalition as we go forward."
No Boots on the Ground?
Gar Smith / The-Edge.net
(January 24, 2016) -- Remember when (not that long ago) President Barack Obama promised not to put any "boots on the ground" in Iraq and Syria?
Well, in December, he announced plans to deploy as many as 150 Special Ops forces in the region (despite the fact that neither Iraq nor Syria has requested or wants these new US troops inside their borders).
And Pentagon officials recently revealed the US has been engaged in "high-level" talks with the Iraqis to send "hundred of additional troops" to the country.
So how does Obama avoid the serious charge that he's broken his "no boots on the ground" promise?
Here's one possibility:
When the troops arrive, perhaps they won't actually be wearing military-issued boots.
Maybe they will charge into battle bare-footed (How exceedingly macho!). Or perhaps they will be issued some kind of non-boot footwear—like iron-plated sandals or up-armored crocs.
Clearly, Obama needs some help to honor his boot-free vow while sending US troops to attack ISIS and its adherents 6,000 miles from the US homeland.
Herewith, a short list of Obamawear for the well-heeled soldier:
Sneakers: For those dicey, behind-the-lines Delta Force rescue missions.
Waders: Perfect if we are going to plunge into another military quagmire.
Clogs: If we're prepared to get inextricably stuck in another endless war.
Slippers: For negotiating those "slippery slopes."
Galoshes: For the Navy's Seal Team Six. (Much more practical than scuba fins.)
Pumps: (Now that women have been cleared for combat) Suitable for seizing oil fields.
Saddle shoes: Because we'll be saddled with the burden of another endless war.
And we should not forget to send a new load of footwear to the Iraqi forces we've spent millions to train.
Based on their performance to date, the shoe of choice would be loafers. *
Finally, we can all send the President a message by mailing shoes to the Oval Office. And what could be more fitting for a president who breaks his promises than a gift box filled with flip-flops.
In the meantime, I suspect most Americans are growing weary of these needless, heedless, endless conflicts and would be ready to simply say: "War is a croc: give it the boot."
* This is not meant to disparage any soldiers who have risked their lives to perform their duties.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.