The ever-growing number of US special forces engaging in direct combat notwithstanding, the Pentagon is ever determined to portray their thousands of normal troops that are deployed in Iraq, are purely “non-combat” in nature, and that they are engaged in advisory and training operations.
Which has never really been true, and is getting increasing less true all the time, as ground troops continue to get closer and closer to direct combat operations, and are now is Mosul, firing mortars at ISIS fighters who can be no more than a mile and a half away.
It’s difficult to reckon exactly what “in combat” means anymore, since the Pentagon is forever trying to define combat-seeming exercises as something short of that. Still, firing mortars certainly isn’t a “training exercise,” and if they are within firing range of ISIS, ISIS is within firing range of them.
Instead of quibbling with the Pentagon about semantics, it may be more useful to note that, as they continue to escalate the ISIS war, something they are constantly doing, the ground troops deployed within the warzone are going to be getting closer and closer to enemy fighters, with all the danger that entails.
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