Mission Creep : 5,000 U.S. Troops in Iraq

Time Magazine reports on the slow but steady increase of U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Apparently, it's in preparation for the upcoming battle to retake Mosul from ISIS.

Unless you have a loved one in the U.S. military, you probably haven’t been aware of the slow-but-steady increase in American troops on the ground inside Iraq.... On Monday, Pentagon officials said the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq would grow by more than 200 troops—to a deployed force of 4,087—as Baghdad and Washington prepare to take Mosul back from ISIS.

Troops on temporary assignment in Iraq, those guarding diplomatic outposts—or those rotating in to replace troops who haven’t left yet—aren’t included under that 4,087 ceiling. When they are, Pentagon officials say, the total U.S. troops presence in Iraq is creeping toward 5,000.


While 5,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the 170,000 troops there in 2007, it is still mission creep.

Even if 5,000 U.S. troops end up inside Iraq, that’s less than 3% of 170,000 U.S. peak in 2007. After an eight-year occupation that killed 4,491 American troops and cost an estimated $2 trillion, Obama has no desire to re-enter that quagmire. He has steadfastly ruled out ground combat for U.S. troops, although their training and defense assignments are bringing them closer to the front lines.

It's far different than Obama's plan when he announced the airstrikes. Remember, he said the U.S. would only launch airstrikes to protect the Yazidis, American personnel and American interests.

These military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to protect American personnel in Iraq by stopping the current advance on Erbil by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.

...In addition, I have authorized U.S. Armed Forces to provide humanitarian assistance in Iraq in an operation that commenced on August 7, 2014. These operations will also be limited to supporting the civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar.

Mission Creep:

The tendency for a task, especially a military operation, to become unintentionally wider in scope than its initial objectives.

...the gradual process by which a campaign or mission's objectives change over time, esp. with undesirable consequences.

Of course, we all all knew this would happen. More here.

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    Recent small successes (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Green26 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 11:49:17 AM EST
    While the US, I think the defense department, has denied this at times, some believe the number of recent successes, as small as they may be, are largely the result of having more US special ops and regular soldiers in Iraq, and occasionally going into Syria.

    My view is that one of the reasons that some in the US have not been paying much attention to the continuing US involvement in fighting in Iraq and Syria, is because Obama has successfully downplayed what is going on. No boots on the ground, just air strikes and other minor stuff. Of course, much of what Obama and the US have said, is not actually fully accurate, as this article points out.

    I assume this "mission creep" will continue to grow. I don't object to it; I believe it's likely necessary if ISIS is going to be further slowed and Syria is going to get improved.

    My guess is that there are a growing number of Special Forces, i.e. green berets, on the ground in that region. My understanding is that they are the guys who are on the ground well before the war activity starts, or escalates. The recent WaPost article on the first US soldier killed in Afghanistan is interesting. That guy was an SF, and was also a CIA person. The CIA has recently acknowledged him.

    The lack of interest in American wars (none / 0) (#1)
    by Steve13209 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 10:21:27 AM EST
    is stunning. It's as if the US isn't really involved ... except for the bombing and killing. Why don't Americans care that we are at war? Because most have been trained to expect it. And with the all-volunteer military, you can always say "That's what they volunteered for".

    which is why I think we should (none / 0) (#2)
    by leap on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 10:30:18 AM EST
    reinstate the draft. People will pay attention to our military escapades when their family members are sent off to "protect" the far corners of our Empire.

    Don't like the idea of (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 05:09:08 PM EST
    a draft.  Just more troops for the ground.  Prefer a "war sur-tax" for everyone, no exceptions--clearly designated for (a) war in Iraq (or special forces advisors etc), (b) war in Afghanistan, etc.  True it would take a new long form, but still. Something like a 1 percent sur-tax on federal income tax owed for each war..  That should pique curiosity...

    A specific "war tax" would trigger (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 08:35:02 PM EST
    an upsurge of anti-war expression and activism, including a significant amount of war tax resistance, and a new wave of conscientious objection, protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as construed by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby. For that reason alone, it sounds good to me.

    Yes Yes Yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 07:06:01 PM EST
    This is the answer.

    I don't really want anyone serving who hasn't volunteered. It can be very spiritually draining and everything is quite technical now.

    I want a highly skilled volunteer force, and war sur tax will end the rest of the country beating war drums for fun or out of boredom masquerading as doing the right thing or what must be done.


    Perhaps combine (none / 0) (#3)
    by Steve13209 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 10:33:21 AM EST
    Military service with college tuition grants also. The bonuses the military pays for soldiers could fund a year's worth of college.

    Well...we have that (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 07:10:00 PM EST
    It's called the GI bill?

    Bonuses are not given to all soldiers, just specific MOSs for retention purposes because training new recruits in certain fields is much more expensive than retaining the already trained.


    Just thinking out loud (none / 0) (#9)
    by Steve13209 on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 08:48:22 PM EST
    Instead of giving away free stuff (public college tuition), make national service a requirement for the benefit.

    I understand how technical the military has gotten, but without the public at large having skin in the game (literally), the act of waging war is not borne by all citizens equally.

    Somehow combining the two subjects. How about we shrink the military to a well-honed core which can handle all the skirmishes we get involved in. But if there is a 150,000 troop commitment, we draft citizens for it? It's how it was before.


    This goes back (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Apr 20, 2016 at 11:17:37 PM EST
    almost exactly 9 years, 11 hours and 15 minutes ago.

    Long term the only thing that makes sense is Universal Military Service.

    Let's have everyone do their share. Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.. doctors lawyers..indian chiefs.

    This will expose everyone to the military. Some will decide to stay because that like it, others will go into the Ready Reserve.. but either way it will have the effect of democratizing the citizens of this country by insuring they rub shoulders with each other, something that is not presently happening, and is a long term danger as the military becomes more and more isolated from the country in general, and from the anti-war Left in particular.

    Two years of training, mostly in support roles, with the volunteers getting the advanced training in the military arts. It would start in the first three months following graduation from high school, or age 18 whichever is later. No exemptions except for severe health problems. After the two years, four years of weekend meetings each month with two weeks annual training on base. After that, four years of tri-monthly monthly meetings.

    I am good with a mandatory (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 22, 2016 at 09:57:25 AM EST
    Service, but disagree with everyone having to have exposure to the military. There has to be an option for those opposed to war in all forms. It is abusive from its inception to not allow that. Israel allows it, and plenty of Liberals check the box for military service.

    Many Liberals argue for this "solution" sort of thoughtlessly though I am beginning to realize. Having skin in the game does not always equal reluctance to engage. Israel itself is a clear example. Even the trajectory of my own life should be seen as a cautionary tale. I never planned on knowing anything about how to conduct a war. Why would anyone sane study such a thing? Oh...because you have skin in the game. When that happens you really begin to study. You engage in conversations you would have never entertained before. You begin to parse for specifics. You begin to study war.

    When Israel is attacked it goes to guns like a sports car, with precision. AND NOW, now we are all pissed at them because of the precision of their actions.

    Israel has an enormous Liberal constituency. And this is not in any way a condemnation of Israel. I don't expect anyone to put up with being attacked. But be careful what you wish for Liberals.


    they are now using B-52s (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:00:26 PM EST
    in the bombing campaign

    Also, ISIS has withdrawn from Derna in Libya.

    Why Al Qaeda thinks ISIS has no future (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Apr 24, 2016 at 10:42:46 PM EST
    - Christian Science Monitor, April 23, 2016

    urls must be in html format (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 25, 2016 at 03:15:26 PM EST
    long ones skew the site and I have to delete the comment. Use the link button at the top of the comment box.