Remember the Iraq campaign, the one the White House never got around to having the Pentagon name? That would be the same campaign that the President has insisted no ground forces would be deployed in the fight against ISIS. Here’s part of his statement regarding the region earlier this week.
The resolution we’ve submitted does not call for the deployment of US ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war like Afghanistan or Iraq. The 2,600 American troops in Iraq today largely serve on basis, and yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment, but they do not have a combat mission.
Pretty clear, right?
Well maybe not if you happen to be one of the Marines currently stationed in Iraq.
Eight suicide bombers managed Friday to get onto a sprawling Iraqi military base where hundreds of U.S. Marines are training their Iraqi counterparts, but were killed by an ISF counter attack almost immediately.
Sean Ryan, chief of foreign affairs for the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq, confirmed to CBS News that the attackers made it onto the secluded Ain al-Asad airbase west of Baghdad, but said the attackers made it “nowhere near” the American forces on the base before they were killed.
A U.S. defense official, speaking to CBS News on background, said the militants were believed to have been members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who hold positions just a few miles northeast of the base, in the al-Baghdadi area.
We have no idea what the current Rules of Engagement for those Marines are, but we’re not confident that the President has given them the authorization to even defend themselves. After all, earlier this week Marines were required to surrender their weapons to board a flight out of Yemen when ISIS forces caused the evacuation of the US Embassy.
And don’t forget, Yemen was a “foreign policy success” in the fight against ISIS.
But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.
On a selfish note, we’re very happy that our Marine Corps son is no longer on active duty. On the other hand, we grieve for Marines (and other military) and their families who serve under this Commander in Chief.