One day after President Obama protested that his strategy for the ISIS war was “not complete” and promised changes, officials say they are planning to send another 500 ground troops into the nation to “devise a counterattack” against ISIS. Beyond this, there will be no significant changes to the war effort.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey suggested changes to the actual war strategy were never even under serious consideration, and that President Obama had only requested ideas for “enhancements” to be made to the existing strategy, which is to say throwing more troops at the war.
Officials are couching the new deployment as part of the effort to retake the Anbar capital of Ramadi, and say many of the troops are going to be heading to the Anbar Province to establish a new base there.
This was not entirely unexpected, as President Obama had previously indicated this his primary goal at this point was to speed up the training of Iraqi troops. The new troops are being labeled “trainers,” but are likely to be among those that Pentagon officials are openly talking about “embedding” on the front lines, meaning they’d be sent into direct combat.
As losses have mounted in Iraq and Syria, with ISIS taking more and more cities, the Pentagon has repeatedly rejected the idea that the strategy was at all flawed, and has tried to blame Iraqi troops for not winning more. The US appears to be doubling down on this narrative by adding troops.