U.S. Announces (Non-Combat) Boots on Ground in Syria

Obama today authorizes the first boots on the ground in Syria. The White House still claims they won't be in a combat role.

On CNN today, a Republican called that distinction false, saying the dividing line is whether our troops will be in harm's way and because these troops will be battling ISIS, they will be in harm's way and there will be casualties. At least some Democrats are voicing disapproval. [More...]

On Capitol Hill, some lawmakers greeted the troop announcement with dismay.

It "marks a major shift in U.S. policy — a shift that is occurring without congressional debate (and) is unlikely to succeed in achieving our objective of defeating IS," said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

Ash Carter says: "The overall mission of U.S. forces in Iraq is to enable by equipping, training, advising, assisting capable and motivated local forces.” Changing lanes or mission creep?

Of course this is boots on the ground. And it's not the first time. The "targeted" raids by commandos in July, 2014 and May, 2015 were also boots on the ground. Attacking an ISIS prison last week was boots on the ground. Call it whatever you want, the reality is, the U.S. is ramping up the war in the Middle East. ISIS will be thrilled, it's what they've asked for all along.

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    Jeralyn: "On CNN today, a Republican called that distinction false, saying the dividing line is whether our troops will be in harm's way and because these troops will be battling ISIS, they will be in harm's way and there will be casualties."

    ... all that worried about the possibility of unleashing a cascade of events beyond their own abilities to manage and control, when they stampeded the country under false pretenses into embarking upon a deliberate war of choice in Iraq 12 years ago. I'm therefore not at all inclined for the foreseeable future -- like, say, the rest of my natural life -- to take seriously anything they say on matters of war and peace. Their words aren't worth the breath expended to say them.

    Now, that said, I can't help but wonder if this particular announcement and deployment is really more about protecting anti-Assad Syrian rebels from murderous air strikes by Russian warplanes, than it is about confronting ISIS on the battlefield. It's pretty apparent at this point that the Russians have been targeting them primarily, rather than ISIS.

    We're engaging in a high stakes game of chicken here, betting that Assad's Russian allies can't help but think twice about continuing such aerial assaults, particularly now given the possibility that they might be siting U.S. special forces advisors in their crosshairs, whether inadvertently or otherwise.

    I think this is very much an uncalculated risk, and were it my own call, it's certainly not the sort of move I would have made on the geopolitical chessboard, given the range of possibilities as to what could happen here -- and admittedly from my own limited perspective, most of them appear to not be very good.


    Putin is correct. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Oct 31, 2015 at 01:12:59 PM EST
    Me and my brother against my cousin; me and my cousin against my village, me and my village against another village, me and my monster against another monster.

    The most accutrate description (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Nov 01, 2015 at 12:13:18 PM EST
    Of everything wrong with the world ever.

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#3)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Oct 31, 2015 at 08:57:42 PM EST
    Although, Obama said the Russian troop introduction showed Russian weakness. Perhaps our troop introduction shows the same.

    In any case regarding your comment about some Repub commentator showing insufficient worry, there is no point in worrying about that which you have ZERO control over. This is Obama's party and the rest of us are mere onlookers. All any of us can do is hope for the best outcome.


    I said that given the Republicans' collective nonchalance regarding the rush to war in Iraq and its consequences, their judgment on these matters is both suspect and untrustworthy, and I'm not going to waste my time with them.

    Pffft (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 01, 2015 at 11:52:39 AM EST
    I agree with you on everything (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 01, 2015 at 11:51:28 AM EST
    Except the uncalculated portion. I have every reason to believe this is VERY calculated and our leaders are hyper aware of what is going on on the geopolitical chessboard.

    The military has been discussing and is excessively aware that we are rubbing up against Russia. If deaths occur due to this all of our leaders are emotionally and intellectually prepared. What did that one guy say? We should never negotiate out of fear nor should we ever fear to negotiate. This is kinetic negotiating with Russia.

    I feel it is absolutely appropriate. We cannot lose our influence in the region on Iran right now. I will not be made easily fearful by Pootie and Pootie antics.