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Dan Gilmore / Oct. 27, 2015

Obama Mulls Increased Involvement Against Islamic State

The plan comes days after he vetoed the Pentagon’s budget.

Days after Barack Obama vetoed the Pentagon’s budget, he’s considering moving U.S. troops closer to the fight against the Islamic State. The Washington Post reports Obama’s military advisers are suggesting he order U.S. Special Forces and other military assets closer to the front lines, increasing the chance of another American combat death. For months, Obama has insisted that he was only providing the training wheels for the Iraqi army’s effort to retake its nation’s land. His strategy was to provide advisers and air support, but that has stalled. An offensive to retake a major Iraqi city — any Iraqi city — is months away. So Obama mulls mission creep. It’s a similar situation to Obama’s decision to keep troops in Afghanistan for a longer time than he previously promised. Obama thought his Middle East policies caused the region to be on the up and up. But the situation has deteriorated to the point where even Obama sees a problem. To be clear, Obama’s war is not ultimately about the Islamic State; it’s about political calculation here at home. The Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron MacLean wrote Obama is waging “war for the media and for public opinion. Actual progress against the Islamic State is a purely secondary concern.” That’s why he vetoed a routine defense bill to leverage for more domestic spending while trying to send Mr. U.S. Super Soldier to wage a PR campaign. Chances are he will not do what he should have done months ago and ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force. That scrutiny would be a PR disaster.

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