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Cole writes: "President Obama’s announcement that he will send 1500 more troops to Iraq was made on a Friday, a day usually reserved in Washington for the release of bad or embarrassing news that officials hope won’t still be fresh enough for Monday’s newspapers and so will quietly sink."

President Barack Obama. (photo: AP/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama. (photo: AP/Evan Vucci)

When Will U.S. Admit Boots on Ground in Iraq (3000 Troops)?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

09 November 14


resident Obama’s announcement that he will send 1500 more troops to Iraq was made on a Friday, a day usually reserved in Washington for the release of bad or embarrassing news that officials hope won’t still be fresh enough for Monday’s newspapers and so will quietly sink.

That these troops will be sent with Iraqi soldiers to al-Anbar Province belies the administration’s repeated denial that it will put boots on the ground. There will soon be 3000 US troops in Iraq. They will be at the scene of battles, embedded with Iraqi units (apparently in the hope that the Iraqi troops will be too embarrassed to run away en masse again in front of foreign guests).

The growing size of the US contingent is not the only news. The US is reestablishing a “command” in Iraq, which administration officials view as necessary to rebuild, or more frankly to build, an Iraqi army. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (in office 2006-2014) appears to have installed so many corrupt and incompetent officers, on the grounds they were loyal to him, that the institution may as well not exist. Half of enlisted men are said to be ghosts, who don’t show up to their postings because they can bribe their commanding officer into letting them be absent.

If there are US troops on the front lines in al-Anbar, where ISIL has been expanding its reach in recent months, then unfortunately there are likely to be US casualties. These are boots on the ground, even if there are not combat platoons going into battle by themselves.

If ISIL really is a dire threat to US security, as administration officials maintain, then they should go to the US public with the news that they are going to have to put thousands of US forces on the ground in Iraq. So far they are trying to spin us, and to pretend that there are just some trainers and advisers. It is far more than that; US special operations forces will be operating in Iraq brigades, likely in part to paint lasers on targets for US warplanes to bomb.

In an age of weasel words and Orwellian diction, it would be refreshing to hear Mr. Obama call this escalation what it is. It is not as if he will be running for office again or needs to win a popularity contest. your social media marketing partner


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+2 # lsd 2014-11-09 14:55
To summarize:
-Always make these kind of announcements after the election. And, make sure everyone knows the timing just worked out that way.
-Blame the previous PM as much as possible.
-Iraqi soldiers are cowards.
-Iraqi soldiers make enough money to "bribe their commanding officer into letting them be absent."
-Plead with would be soooo refreshing if you would be honest.
0 # Radscal 2014-11-09 16:33
These are not "boots on the ground" and this is not Iraq War III because.... Democrat President.
+4 # indian weaver 2014-11-09 16:49
I have come to despise this lying coward, and that's by far the nicest thing I can say about him, and most of the others in our fascist terrorist regime of torturers. Who do they think they are kidding? Well, they probably are deceiving about 90% of the ignorant spoiled population in this sorry excuse for a nation.
+2 # indian weaver 2014-11-09 16:51
Obama will be assassinated by the CIA if he doesn't read his script. Like all the others.
+2 # Radscal 2014-11-09 18:46
Yeah, from the "party crashers" who literally laid hands on Obama just a few months after he got into the White House to the guy with a gun who was allowed onto an elevator with him, it would appear the Secret Service keeps reminding Obama how easily he could have his own Dealey Plaza moment.

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