“We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq”—Barack Obama, June 13, 2014
“Up to approximately 275 U.S. military personnel [“equipped for combat”] are deploying to Iraq.”—Barack Obama, June 16, 2014Acknowledging the very real possibility that US personnel in Iraq, and particularly at the giant US Embassy complex in Baghdad, might be in grave danger from the Iraqi civil war, President Obama announced Monday he was sending 275 US troops to Baghdad.
Obama said in a statement:
“Consistent with the War Powers Resolution, the President transmitted a report notifying the Congress that up to approximately 275 U.S. military personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”In his letter to Congress, Obama explained the troops would be prepared to fight, if necessary:
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat.”Apparently reversing his earlier statement that there would be no US troops sent “back into combat in Iraq”, Obama seemed to be sending what amounts to an“"Alamo" battalion, to defend the US Embassy barricades in case Baghdad should fall to the ISIL-led Sunni insurgency.
This is reminiscent of the last days of the US official presence in South Vietnam, as Americans and Vietnamese flocked to the US Embassy in Saigon, as a last-gasp refuge before the takeover of the city and South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese Army.
Obama said the US troops would be staying essentially indefinitely, since Obama indicated they would remain in Baghdad until the current crisis is over.
This decision to return US troops to Baghdad comes three years after Obama pulled the last US troops of the US occupation force from Iraq, and after many experts and pundits had declared the Iraq war a relative US victory. Many of these congratulatory victory chants are now being seen as vain and foolish distortions of the political and military reality in Iraq.