Thursday, the operative phrase was, “ No U.S. troops in combat.” The advisors will working from desks and will not take part in shooting engagements.
Friday the operative phrase somehow shifted to ,”Advisors will be embedded with Iraqi units. They may defend their selves, but only after being fired upon by insurgents.”
Today the message is that the advisors will be taking part in combat operations. Not only is this political duplicity, it places our “advisors” at grave risk.
The official line is that our advisors need to assess the capabilities of the Iraqi army units. We know their capabilities, we’ve spent the last decade training them to provide their own security. Obviously, the lessons didn’t sink in. What makes anyone believe that 300 or so Spec Ops troops will be able to impart loyalty for a government that is more concerned with religious payback for centuries of fratricide than with building a working nation that considers the needs of all its citizens.
The official spiel is that our troops will be there to call in the fast movers, bombers, and other air strike assets if they deem the situation requires them. Our troops will designate and provide Bomb Damage Assessments. The Pentagon, supporting our civilian leaders, talks about another round of teaching Iraqis to fight their own battles. Some mention was made of teaching them to control air assets. That’s the part that requires a lot of salt to swallow. We own and use a lot of high tech toys and tools to practice the modern arts of warfare. We’ve been known to share this technology with our most trusted allies; Great Britain, Canada, a few other nations. Does anyone believe that we are going to hand such equipment over to the Iraqi army? I’d rather dump it off carrier decks ala 1975 than let the Iraqis sell it on the black market or give it to Iran.
The risk of ramping up a 3rd Iraqi war is increasing daily. The first time we lose an advisor to ISIS, the chicken hawks will be screaming for more troops to be inserted to protect our advisors. Count on it. I’ve seen it happen. Been there, got the t-shirt.