Nate Jackson / July 11, 2016

The New Iraq Surge

Still in stealth mode, 560 more Americans head for Mosul.

Remember when Barack Obama pledged to “end” (note: not win) the war in Iraq? He withdrew all U.S. forces at the end of 2011, and the precipitous rise of the Islamic State was the calamitous result. So we’ll once again ask the same question we asked in March: Did you know there are now 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq? The Pentagon has yet again quietly announced a small surge of U.S. troops headed to Iraq to take on the Islamic State. Specifically, 560 Americans are headed to Mosul to bolster an effort to reclaim the town, overrun by the Islamic State in 2014. That will bring to 4,647 the official number of American pairs of “boots on the ground” in Iraq — part of a slow but steady escalation reflecting poor conditions.

An interesting note — at the end of the New York Times story about this little surge comes this blurb: “Although the official number of United States troops will rise to 4,647, that figure understates the actual number of service members in Iraq. The Pentagon uses a system for counting troops that excludes certain service members who are supposed to be stationed in the country for less than four months, and for commandos. Defense Department officials have said that there are probably more than 5,000 Americans presently in Iraq.” In other words, Obama is so determined to keep the number of troops to a bare minimum that he’s not even counting all the ones who are there sacrificing for their country.

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