Mission Creep: Obama Admin Floats ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq

Guest post by Kristinn Taylor

boots on ground

President Barack Obama is considering deploying U.S. ground forces to northern Iraq to affect a rescue of thousands stranded Yezidi Iraqis trapped by ISIS terrorists on Mount Sinjar.

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times are both reporting comments by anonymous senior administration officials that the Pentagon is developing options, including U.S. troops, to bring an end to the suffering on the hot, barren, rock strewn mountain that has been a deadly home for over a week for displaced Yezidis. The articles make sure to note Obama has not approved any rescue plan yet.

The rapid gains by ISIS in recent weeks have forced Obama to abandon his hands off approach to the Islamist terrorist group. Obama has gone from ignoring ISIS as it took Fallujah, to sending advisors when ISIS threatened Baghdad, then ordering U.S. airstrikes to aid the Yezidis and ward off an ISIS move on Erbil to now considering putting U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq to potentially fight off ISIS in a rescue mission.

The Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. is weighing a military mission in Iraq to rescue thousands of Yazidi refugees, a move that risks putting American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters for the Islamic State.

“The proposal is still under development and hasn’t been approved by President Barack Obama. U.S. officials said the rescue mission is one of many options the U.S. military is weighing after dropping food and water to dying refugees over the past six days.

“”People are looking at ways to do something more than just drop water and supplies,” one senior U.S. official said. “You can only do that for so long.”

“Since last week, the U.S. has sought to halt the militants’ advance on the Kurdish city of Erbil and to relieve Yazidis trapped by the fighters on a barren mountain range through a campaign of airstrikes and aid drops.

“A rescue mission could expose U.S. forces to direct fire from the militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and that is a risk Mr. Obama may not be willing to accept.

“On Tuesday, the Pentagon continued to lay the groundwork for a rescue by sending another 130 military advisers to northern Iraq to develop options the Pentagon can present to the president. The team will be made up of U.S. Marines and members of American special operations forces who have expertise in difficult missions.”

The New York Times:

“The Pentagon has sent an additional 130 military advisers to northern Iraq to help plan the evacuation of thousands of displaced people trapped by Sunni militants on Mount Sinjar, Defense Department officials said Tuesday, raising the possibility that a larger American force may eventually be needed in the rescue attempt.

“While military officials said the Pentagon planned to continue aid drops of food and water, United States officials said they believed that some type of ground force would be necessary to secure the passage of the stranded members of the Yazidi group. The military is drawing up plans for consideration by President Obama that could include American ground troops in what is expected to be an international effort to rescue the refugees, a senior administration official said.

“Mr. Obama has insisted, most recently on Monday, that he will not send American ground troops back to Iraq. But as the Yazidi crisis has deteriorated, American officials say they have become increasingly convinced that a humanitarian corridor will have to be established soon, with troops on the ground to help ensure safe passage for the displaced.

““No decisions have been made as to the composition of such a force,” a senior administration official said.”

Mission creep: “The tendency for a task, esp a military operation, to become unintentionally wider in scope than its initial objectives.”

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Thanks for sharing!