Pentagon Insists Mosul Dam Strikes Aren't Mission Creep

Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby insists the airstrikes on Mosul Dam were not "mission creep."

“Mission creep refers to the growth or expansion of the goals and objectives of a military operation -- that the goals and objectives change, morph into something bigger than they were at the outset,” he explained.

“... Nothing has changed about the missions that we're conducting inside Iraq. ... Airstrikes are authorized under two mission areas -- humanitarian assistance and the protection of U.S. personnel and facilities,” the admiral said.
The airstrikes in and around Mosul Dam fit into both of those categories, he said.

How do the strikes fit into those categories? He acknowledges ISIS' intent "was not clear" and then says:

If that dam was to blow or they were to open and flood the gates, that it could have an effect as far south as Baghdad.”

My posts to the contrary are here and here.

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    If ISIS is going to cut peoples heads off (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 07:58:12 AM EST
    For anything they see fit, they are perfectly capable of using that dam to kill others.  They have no standards, no scruples.  At this point, I acknowledge they are capable of doing anything without regard for the consequences and injury and death of innocents.  They have no souls.  They can't be trusted to not use that dam as a weapon of mass destruction, and if they killed a whole bunch of innocent people they'd just say others "made them do it" and that it was Allah's will since they have proclaimed themselves the blessed hand of God.

    Agree (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:03:13 AM EST
    I darn sure would not want to live down stream of that huge dam with them in controll of it.

    I agree (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:43:02 AM EST
    I think protecting the dam is part of the humanitarian mission, and also protecting Americans in the area. Despite what they claim, ISIS is not the government of Iraq. They, to say the least, are not a responsible agent to have control over vital infrastructure.

    It's nice to see you coming around (none / 0) (#34)
    by Green26 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:39:04 AM EST
    to, or closer to, some of the views I have been expressing for some time. I saw one of your posts a few days ago, which I agreed with completely, and fell off my chair.

    Oh for Christ sake (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:31:32 AM EST
    If it had been done your way Maliki would still be in power and the same problems would keep ISIL forever strong.  And don't think we are going to war with ISIL, it will be strategic hits and not even all us.  We have a global consensus now, and consensus is important because everything is not a nail and you are not Superman in a red white and blue cape.

    Nope, I wanted Maliki out (none / 0) (#36)
    by Green26 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 12:50:56 PM EST
    several years ago, prior to the US pullout. If it had been done my way, there wouldn't be such a big ISIS problem now and they wouldn't have all of the seized weapons, money, and recruits. While you have started to come around, part of the reason for the delay in engagement was caused by overly cautious people. You can decide if you were one of them.

    While the US role many remain limited, the West is already starting to engage in a war with ISIS.

    I see that the US is considering sending 300 more ground troops to Iraq, mainly to beef up security in Baghdad.


    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 12:54:22 PM EST
    If we had only listened to you...

    Double wow!


    A savvy alternative to Mrs. clinton. (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:00:30 PM EST
    Problem solved. No dynasty. No third-way. Assume not beholden to Wall St.  No information re gender and whether dead broke.

    Not to Mention (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:05:00 PM EST
    A very, um... Healthy, ego.

    There is a Facebook page for that (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:28:03 PM EST
    Forget (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:45:55 AM EST
    about congress and the American people having a say in all this.

    The people in this country voted in 2006 - eight years ago - to end the war in Iraq. We threw out the Republicans and elected a Democratic congress with the mandate to end the war.

    We all know what happened.

    Saying that we will not eventually have additional ground forces there does not ring true to me.

    How are we going to "protect" our 104 acre Embassy and its 15,000 employees? With smart bombs? With drones?

    Don't think so.

    As our people there become the focus of the rage of ISIS, the administration - or the CIA - the Republicans, the pseudo-Democrats - or whoever is actually running the show - along with the compliant media - will beat the drums ever louder and louder.

    In a few short weeks, we have begun what appears to be an irreversible process of turning, once again, an internal conflict into a conflict between ISIS and the US. They were not focused on us, and now they are.

    I don't like the odds.

    A lot can happen in eight years, or (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:47:42 AM EST
    for that matter one year, or even in one day, or one instant: things can change. Not that I want war, or boots on the ground again, or feel like I have an acceptable level of trust for those making decisions and keeping us "advised."  I don't.

    ISIS is baiting us, and it worries me that regardless of what they do, they'll win in some way.  The public beheading was a taunt: "whatcha gonna do now, America?"  God only knows what else they have in their bag of tricks.  Do they really want us out, or are they trying to draw us in?  Seems to me ISIS doesn't work as well as a concept without an enemy, but I don't think they'd have any problem making us an enemy even if we had done or did nothing.

    How do you stop people - and I use that term ("people") with reservations - like that?  Whatever we do recruits more of them - including doing nothing.  And if they're preying on people by force, doing nothing makes us look callous and unfeeling - and is also a recruitment tool.

    Would it have made any difference if we had confined our mission to Afghanistan and had never invaded Iraq?  Who knows?  And at this point, what good does it do to wonder? - it's not changing what's happening now.

    I have no doubt the American people are still resistant to war - mainly, I think, because it doesn't seem like the war ever really ended, not completely. I mean, didn't the powers that be tell us that a war on terror is never over?

    I don't know what the answer is, and even if I pay constant attention, I'm not going to have any power to stop anything.  Once again, we can only sit by with the knowledge that whatever we're thinking, it's going to lag behind whatever is actually happening.  and once it's happening, it's that much harder to stop.

    Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.  Sheesh.


    Baiting... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 10:52:05 AM EST
    is what I was thinking too...these bastards are begging for it!  

    Iraqi minorities are no infidel substitute for the Great Satan, no ma'am.  ISIS misses us...and like their murderous scum-sucking predecessors, realize the only way to beat the West is to bankrupt the West via foreign war and occupation.  There is no caliphate without Western collapse, because our way of life (flawed and f8cked up as it is), is world's better than the sh*t they're selling.  And since they are no match militarily, and have no real means to attack us...they are left to goad us and hope we come to them again.


    We will never send standard military in after them (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:46:15 AM EST
    We don't intend to hold any ground.....cough...oil fields...like the Bush administration did.  Sending a tank won't defeat ISIS.  Going after their leaders like we did Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network and also Al Qaeda in Iraq will end this insanity.  Military intel and special forces work, not infantry.

    Hope you're right... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:13:31 PM EST
    but never say never...a new president is but 2 years away, a new Congress just a few months away.  Never know...it's times like this I don't mind that Obama guy so much;)

    I know I'm impossible to please in an isolationist sort of way...I could live with special ops with clearly defined goals...better than raining death from above or god forbid restart the occupation.  Best of all would be the people directly under threat of their brand of murderous tyranny...the Kurds, the Yazidis, the sensible Muslims, the neighboring nations like Iran & Saudi Arabaia...got their sh*t together and stopped these lunatics.  Cuz another reason against us doing it is it would likely gain sympathy for ISIS in the world, especially the muslim world, our rep being what it is.


    Our rep is mixed (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:21:46 PM EST
    Qatar loves us, Saudi Arabia doesn't mind us, Jordan is a friend, we arm Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, we get around.  We are a good time.  Not loved by all, but not hated by all, and we are arming everyone right now....and I don't know why :)

    The World's Gun Shop... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:25:52 PM EST
    that's one area where the "first do no harm" foreign policy mantra hasn't materialized.  

    First and foremost, I vote not so much as a switchblade on the taxpayer for nobody...foreign and/or domestic.  That means you too Ferguson PD!


    MT, the US gets (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 04:30:51 PM EST
    a whooping 4.4% of its imported oil from Iraq.


    But in

    December 2012, the U.S. produced about 7.03 million barrels of crude oil per day and imported about 7.58 million

    And domestic production has increased dramatically over the last 18 months as the Bakken field has came on line..

    A good figure would be that we get around 2% of our current needs from Iraq. So the issue never was about oil.


    Oil is a worldwide commodity (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Yman on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 07:35:09 PM EST
    A good figure would be that we get around 2% of our current needs from Iraq. So the issue never was about oil.

    It doesn't matter how much we get from Iraq.  If oil supplies from Iraq to anyone are significantly reduced, they will buy oil elsewhere, raising the cost on the world market for everyone.

    BTW - "Never about oil", huh?  Someone should have told that to Bush's Fed Head - Alan Greenspan:

    "Whatever their publicised angst over Saddam Hussain's 'weapons of mass destruction', American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in the area that harbours a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy. I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

    Or his Secretary of Treasury, Paul O'Neill, who said that Bush's first two National Security Council meetings included a discussion of invading Iraq and briefing materials which discussed divvying up Iraq's oil wealth. Also a Pentagon document dated March 5, 2001 was titled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts," and included a map of potential areas for exploration.

    Or his Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel:

    "People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are.  They talk about America's national interest. What the hell do you think they're talking about? We're not there for figs

    Or his CENTCOM Commander, General John Abizaid:

    "Of course it's about oil, we can't really deny that."


    Ya know, if it had been about oil (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:20:09 PM EST
    we could have taken and held the oil fields with no sweat.

    And Hagel was what?? Bush's SecDef??


    We did take them (none / 0) (#32)
    by Yman on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:12:19 PM EST
    ... and we made sure the oil kept flowing.  But here's a few more of Bush's own acknowledging the obvious, about which you remain in blissfully, ignorant denial:

    Bush's SecDef Wolfowitz:

    But in the vision endorsed by Mr Wolfowitz, a transformed Iraq would not only help secure oil supplies and reduce the threat to Israel.

    John McCain:

    My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will -- that will then prevent us -- that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

    Sarah Palin:

    Better to start that drilling [for oil within the U.S.] today than wait and continue relying on foreign sources of energy. We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go.

    David Frum:

    In 2002, Chalabi [the Iraqi politician and oil minister who the Bush Administration favored to lead Iraq after the war] joined the annual summer retreat of the American Enterprise Institute near Vail, Colorado. He and Cheney spent long hours together, contemplating the possibilities of a Western-oriented Iraq: an additional source of oil, an alternative to U.S. dependency on an unstable-looking Saudi Arabia.

    Under Secretary of State - John Bolton:

    The critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protectour economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.

    versus ...

    ... you.


    No we couldn't (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:25:57 PM EST
    It isn't like we weren't trying to get oil out of there.  Insurgents blew the pipelines every other day Jim.  What the Phuck Bush/Cheney occupation are you remembering?  Certainly not Iraq

    Whatever (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:57:24 PM EST
    3rd ACR was ordered to walk right past barrels of IAEA previously secured cake uranium that was no longer secured during the invasion.... on their way to secure the oil fields.  Bush and Cheney thought they could steal Iraq's oil, they didn't anticipate that an insurgency would tell them to go to hell and kick their a$$.

    It's not about whether it's about the oil... (none / 0) (#31)
    by unitron on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:39:58 PM EST
    ...it's about whether or not it's about the oil companies.

    You remember them, they sell to whoever's buying, as long as they have sufficiently inexpensive access to product.

    And most of our Middle East meddling for well over half a century now has been about making sure that they had sufficiently inexpensive access to product.


    Many analysts and ISIS fanboys agree (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:07:29 AM EST
    with you on the baiting. And say another other goal is to instill maximum fear.

    The fanboys (and by that I mean ISIS supporters sitting behind computers in other countries reposting ISIS released messages and what they read from others on Twitter) are also mocking Ferguson and saying the beheadings are nothing compared to what the U.S. has done at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, etc. They even claim the reporters were wearing orange to invoke Gitmo. Another goal might be to sow discord here in the U.S. But that's just my speculation, it wasn't a big theme as of last night. (haven't checked yet today.)


    I also agree (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:54:54 AM EST
    If we can't baldly talk about our own sh*t... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 12:57:31 PM EST
    ...it means psychopathic phucks like ISIS get a severed head up in the PR hyprocrisy column.

    So much imagination and creativity overflow in our society, but in our politics, both at home and abroad, we're sickeningly inept. And we have no excuse. Zip, zero, nada. Our stupidity and cowardice creatively are beyond my ability to rationalize. I can see it as nothing else but our tragic flaw -- the inability to take what is the best product of freedom into the political world of the supposed people's power.

    Back to the back rehab. Peace out for awhile.


    apparently one thing they have... (none / 0) (#14)
    by unitron on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 12:29:43 PM EST
    ...in their bag of tricks is a second journalist to behead whenever the spirit moves them.

    They have others being held too (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:02:21 PM EST
    That could perhaps suffer the same fate.  I know different subgroups control the imprisonment of different journalists kidnapped in Syria, deals are made though.

    I'm not disagreeing with you... (none / 0) (#21)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:22:37 PM EST
    but how to we know if ISIS is baiting us, or, from their point of view, responding to the American bombing with a despicable act and a threat of more and worse?

    The question of who is baiting who is for me, at least for the moment, unanswered.

    In the back of my mind is what Jeralyn had reported about ISIS being disinterested in the United States. It was just focused on what it was trying to do in Iraq. Now, with the American bombing, its focus has shifted to us. Personally, I do not welcome this...

    Believe me - I have no axe to grind on behalf of ISIS - or against the US government. But I simply can't figure out what either of them really want. Actually I have more of an idea of what ISIS wants than I do about what we want in Iraq.

    In any case, I totally agree with what you wrote:

    Once again, we can only sit by with the knowledge that whatever we're thinking, it's going to lag behind whatever is actually happening.  and once it's happening, it's that much harder to stop.

    As dangerous as it is to ignore history (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by ruffian on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 10:06:32 AM EST
    I think sometimes we try to force everything into some historical template that does not fit. I've been trying to stay out of the 'what if we had or hadn't done this or that thing in the past' frame of mind.

    Regardless of how ISIS came to be, I think they are dangerous madmen upsetting whatever chance there was to have some stability in Iraq, and endangering Americans and our allies in the region. It may very well be that they are only one of a series of such groups we have to help fight.

    Maybe the only historical lesson is to not depose the one madman that was holding the whole thing together.


    ^^^This^^^ (none / 0) (#19)
    by vicndabx on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:15:00 PM EST
    not depose the one madman that was holding it all together.

    Maybe you have to be a little crazy yourself to contain nuts that behead people.


    Beheading (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:28:26 PM EST
    is truly revolting and barbaric.

    But, realistically, people killed by bombs dropped from the sky are just as dead.

    So, ultimately, what are we talking about and responding to?


    The response (none / 0) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 03:59:49 PM EST
    is, in my view, to the crime of killing James Foley, for the charge, in essence, of being an American, and the barbarous method used to cause death.  Both relate to the ISIS provocation to the West and a message to Sunni Muslims, that the West is at war with them and they are doing something about that.  

    With a fighting force of about 10,000 and funding and military equipment obtained in any manner possible, including captured American equipment from fleeing Iraqi forces, seizing and keeping their gains relies on the dissatisfied and  disenfranchised Sunnis of the region.   The beheading is consistent with their culture which is unlikely to go unacknowledged by the Sunnis and, of course and as intended, gets the angry and disgusted response of the Western nations.

    As for the barbaric method of execution used, I agree that the results of airstrikes, or even torture gone awry, create, just as surely, a cruel end for combatants as well as civilians. And, an ISIS killing by riffle or bomb does the same.

    The full impact of beheading requires not only the act, but also, the public spectacle. Reporting is not enough; visuals are necessary.  Hence, the importance of the video to ISIS.  Whether the act is more cruel than certain other methods of execution is not the real issue.  It is the demonstration of their barbarism  that is at play for regional and global eyes to see.


    When imagination is dead... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 10:41:23 AM EST
    ...so is humanity. And we are there right now. That in 2014, in the US of A, this is the best we can do leadership-wise, creativity-wise...good lord what a pathetic comment on our demise. All we have are hammers when the world is mostly toothpicks. Hey, geninuses in my government, you know this is the instant communication era, maybe you could start by, oh, I don't know, forcing a running 24 hour debate with ISIS online. Bring them into the open as rhetorical subjects, let them "speak" for themselves in the open, let their "intellects" be heard by all, while at the same time evidencing we have SOME measure of remorseful humanity.

    But, again, that requires too many brain cells and too much courage for the addled halfwit egos that run this crudshow.

    I am going to suck on a huge Bloody Mary and start my back rehab for the day. Switch it up a bit, you know? Usually it's rehab first. One of those days, needless to say.

    Peace, y'all.

    And the US had its own ISIS, still does (none / 0) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 10:48:03 AM EST
    Called the KKK.

    Eldon Edwards seems as good an example as any. Grand Dragon, Imperial Wizard, Champion Rectum Head, whatever title he claimed back in the day. Mike Wallace did a famous interview with him in 1957. Even had 15,000 hardcore followers back in the murderous day. Same number as ISIS fighters supposedly.

    I hate that we don't even mention this internationally in times like these, much less use that history to our advantage. Denial as theocracy seems our best at-bat. THIS is exactly what I mean by a lack of imagination in our leadership.


    The KKK isn't murdering (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:40:42 PM EST
    Innocent people right now.  They did once, and now we don't stand for it.  They will spend the rest of their lives in prison attempting such things in this country.

    It is a free country though.  If people with personality disorders want to dress up in their bedclothes and give each Dungeons and Dragons names, they get to.  And I get to make fun of them.  They don't get to behead people in 2014 though.


    The wisdom of (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 10:53:28 AM EST
    arming the Syrian "moderates" earlier (or even, now) has been re-kindled by Secretary Clinton's interview in Atlantic.  But, Mrs. Clinton was frank in saying that taking her recommendation to do so (rather than the course Obama took) would not assure that we would be in a better position today.  

    That acknowledgement, in and of itself, in my view,  tilts to the correctness of President Obama's strategy.  Moreover, we would very likely find ourselves in a situation similar to the one we face in Iraq.

    Even after Assad's regime was toppled, there would be another civil war. The first civil war being between Assad and our "armed moderates" and jihadists (ISIS included).  The second, to follow, would be the moderates and jihadists (probably ISIS exclusively) against each other.  And, my bet would be on the ISIS jihadists in that one.  Unlesswas continued,, long-term US involvement to contain them.  

    No boots on the ground, does not mean we are not at war, despite saying so. In Iraq, mission creep is built-in.  Save the dam so as to save Baghdad is arguably, pretty broad.  ISIS is a jihadist invasion and occupation.  Terror is a key weapon for both operations. Certainly, they are capable of destroying a dam, consequences be damned. But, they are not unhinged, there is a calculation going on.  Beheadings, orange suits (Gitmo recollections) are a part of the terror for baiting abroad and intimidation locally.  The dam was recovered unscathed--apparently, no attempt to destroy it upon retreat.  That would not endear them to Sunni population and, they, may feel that they will need it on their eventual return.

    The President warns that there is no military solution to political problems of Iraq  Bolstering the highly dependent Kurdish and Iraq forces will work in the short run, but everything will be the same in the long-run if mission creep is our only answer.  

    Gone unnoticed, in large measure, was the Obama Administration announcement this week that Syria's declared chemical weapons stockpile has been eliminated and the elimination of production facilities is the next step.  I wonder if we would have been better off if we would have gone ahead with that plan for an "incredibly small bomb" for Assad?

    To what degree..... (none / 0) (#18)
    by magster on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:13:33 PM EST
    can the CIA and other intelligence agencies determine the identity of the killer from voice recognition, where the execution took place from studying the surrounding landscape and from where the video was originally uploaded?  Was the video a mistake by ISIS in terms of yielding clues?

    Mission Creep.... (none / 0) (#25)
    by magster on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:53:46 PM EST
    Even assuming that Obama and USA are utterly sincere about the limits to our current objectives, something unforeseen escalates to pull us back into Iraq.