Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Coming soon: the USS Maddox gets attacked at night by the Islamic State's phantom torpedoes?

I hope President Obama has enough caution and enough realistic concern over getting the US drawn into another military disaster to terminate his new direct military involvement in Iraq as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, this looks in some ways an awful lot like a Tonkin Gulf Resolution moment.

Obama and his Republican Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are sending "130 additional U.S. military personnel" to Irbil in the Kurdish area of Iraq. (Tony Perry, 'No boots on the ground in Iraq,' Hagel tells crowd at Marine base Los Angeles Times 08/13/2014)

What will they be doing? Rebecca Kaplan reports for CBS News, Obama administration sending 130 more military personnel to Iraq 08/12/2014:

The forces are comprised of Marines and special operations forces from within the U.S. Central Command region but will not be engaged in a combat role.

"They will work closely with representatives from the U.S. Department of State and USAID to coordinate plans with international partners and non-government organizations committed to helping the Yazidi people. At the request of the Government of Iraq, the U.S. government continues to explore ways to support Iraqis affected by the ongoing fighting in Sinjar and to prevent potential acts of genocide by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," the [anonymous "defense"] official said. [my emphasis]
Kaplan in the opening paragraphy summarizes the anonymous official's message this way: "The Obama administration is sending 130 U.S. military personnel into northern Iraq to assess the scope of the humanitarian mission and develop additional humanitarian assistance options there."

Because the Marines and Special Ops are particularly trained for humanitarian operations?

The Department of Defense is calling the 130 Marine and Special Ops soldiers "assessors." (Jim Garamone, President Sends 130 More Assessors to Iraq; DoD website 08/13/2014).

That's a new one on me. Is this an new euphemism for troops formerly known as "military advisers"?

DoD handily provides their own video, so you can get the official spin without having it cycled through the regular news media! Additional Assessment Team Sent to Iraq (accessed 08/13/2014):


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