President Obama has signed off on yet another deployment of ground troops to Iraq today, agreeing to send another 350 troops to the capital city of Baghdad to protect “American diplomatic facilities” across the city.
It is the first announcement of new ground troops deployed to the country in about a week, and one of several over the past month and a half as the US builds up its military presence in both Baghdad and Irbil.
So far the US ground troops haven’t engaged in any direct combat in the war with ISIS, and the US has simply launched airstrikes against them to set up Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Shi’ite militias’ ground operations.
The continued escalation suggests that’s probably not going to be true in the long run, or that at the very least the administration recognizing the likelihood of transitioning into a ground war.
And perhaps transitioning into other countries. Sen. Bill Nelson (D – FL) is pushing a new bill that would give the White House explicit authorization to expand the air war into neighboring Syria. Sen. Nelson insisted he wanted to ensure there was “no question” that the president could expand the war as he sees fit.
The White House declined to express any position on the legislation, insisting no decision has yet been made on attacking ISIS inside Syria. Officials have previously indicated they don’t really believe they need Congressional authorization for the war itself, and indeed no effort was made to get an authorization for the Iraq side of the conflict.