10 months ago when President Obama launched the ISIS war, he promised no ground troops under any circumstances, fresh off the announcement of 450 more ground troops headed to the country and talk of 1,000+ more to follow, there is talk of “mission creep,” which Army chief Gen. Ray Odierno is trying to dispel.
“I don’t think it’s mission creep,” Odierno insisted on MSNBC today, describing it instead as an “expansion of the current policy,” a distinction which at this point, 3,000+ troops into the ground war, appears to amount to splitting hairs
At the same time, the ISIS war has always been ill-defined in its goals and contours, so it’s difficult to conclusively say what Obama promised and what he just heavily implied in an attempt to sell the public on this being a much smaller war than it’s ending up.
Every new escalation of the war is followed up with the administration revising its previous comments on the war to insist that promises of no ground troops meant no combat troops, then no “enduring combat troops,” and so on. With so many of the escalations seemingly designed simply to justify further escalations in the future, it’s entirely possible officials are seeing the “mission” as backdooring their way into a new Iraq War. In that regard, everything must seem to them as simply on track.