5/19/16 War In Iraq

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In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve gone back to war in Iraq.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Barack Obama rode the anti-Iraq War movement into the Oval Office.  There was a fragile peace in the country by the time he was sworn in.  He then ordered a hasty withdrawal that created a power vacuum.  This was filled by ISIS.

[Clarification: The Status of Forces Agreement that implemented the withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Iraq was signed in November 2008, during the presidency of George W. Bush. There was wide expectation a new agreement would replace the SOFA, which was set to expire in November 2011, one month before the withdrawal deadline. This new agreement was expected to include approximately 10,000 U.S. Forces to ensure the safety of Iraq. One month after assuming office, President Barack Obama announced he would end combat operations in 2010 and not leave a residual U.S. military force in Iraq.  During the 2012 election, Obama said he was opposed to leaving a force of 10,000 in place.]

In the last year or so, there has been a gradual build-up of U.S. forces.  But the exact size is anybody’s guess.  That’s because the Administration has clamped down on reporting the actual number.

Last year, President Obama formally reported to Congress there were about thirty-five hundred troops in Iraq.  Earlier this year, U.S. officials confirmed there are actually more than five-thousand.

The recent deaths of a US Marine and Navy SEAL indicate US forces are more involved in combat operations than the public has been told.  A White House spokesman downplayed the deaths at the hands of insurgents.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the SEAL was “not in a combat mission, but he was in a dangerous place.”  That’s an understatement, to put it mildly.

I’m not questioning the wisdom of countering the ISIS threat. But I am challenging the Administration’s efforts hide the size and role of U.S. forces in Iraq.  ISIS knows.  Shouldn’t the U.S. public?

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