Coming around again, military advisors to “train up” Iraqi soldiers and police to some degree of mythical competency that just might suggest a modern nation with a working and stable government.
Who’s going to provide these advisors? Why the U.S., of course. Although it has been suggested that such a training mission should include the armed forces and police agencies of other nations, including Europe, Asia, and the “Arab League, “ we need only glance backward to 2003 to see how much interest those other nations displayed then in becoming embroiled in another Middle Eastern morass. They didn’t sign on then please Bush 43, and they won’t volunteer now to please Obama.
The last years the U.S. spent in Iraq were purportedly spent providing just such training to military and civilian agencies. The current incursion by ISIS demonstrates only too well how much competency was achieved by the trainees. There is little loyalty to the nation of Iraq among the Iraqi army. What loyalty exists there is directed to religious sect, tribe, and family. Sunni have no willingness to kill Sunni. Shia have no willingness to kill Shia. They will happily become a chanting mob and kill each other when goaded by sectarian Imams.
The “advisors” we are now sending into Iraq will be officially non-combatants. They will supposedly fill only training and intelligence slots. This is frankly unbelievable. They will need to go outside the wire in order to train Iraqis and/or to collect intelligence. At some point in the future, one or more of our advisors will become WIA or KIA. The remaining advisors will be allowed to defend their selves with as much force as is required, including the use of manned and unmanned aircraft. Escalation, just as in VietNam, takes place and the role of advisors suddenly changes. It won’t be “mission creep” but mission expansion.
During the VietNam war USARV provided a nightly briefing, known as the “Five O’clock Follies.” There was a standing joke that all troops in Cambodia were required to jump into the air at 1700 hours, so that the briefers in Saigon could state, “As of 1700, we have no troops on the ground in Cambodia.”
Now the descriptive phrase in vogue to describe troop presence is “boots on the ground.” The quick and dirty work-around for that may become having our troops wear sandals or running shoes.
Deja Moo, all over again!