The growing US military escalation into Iraq has been hugely unpopular domestically, and has the administration and the Pentagon brass constantly trying to minimize exactly what the US is doing there.
Initially, officials pledged “no boots on the ground.” That was broken quickly, and replaced with “no combat troops.” The combat troops came Monday, and followed up with attack helicopters for the troops to fly.
Despite all the escalation, the Pentagon is still sticking to the old playbook, with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel now preposterously insisting that the US sent combat troops to Iraq but doesn’t intend for any of them in combat.
Ironically, as the US occupation of Iraq wound down, the US redefined everyone as “non-combat” troops for rhetorical reasons, while they continued to engage in combat. This time, we’re expected to believe they’re doing the exact opposite, and military officials continue to reject public concerns of mission creep.
At the same time Hagel is denying any combat missions will happen, the US is setting up “joint forces” bases, and openly talking about Iraq needing direct military aid to recapture lost territory.