Though officials continue to deny that they are intending to launch a ground war in Iraq, they today announced a plan to double the number of US ground troops in Iraq.
Even more troubling, those “advisers” are not going to be simply loitering in Baghdad and Irbil like the previous troops, with some of the troops to be deployed to front line combat zones in Anbar Province.
Gen. Martin Dempsey has been talking up plans to embed the “advisers” into Iraqi combat units, and while they still won’t theoretically be listed as combat troops, the move seems designed primarily to put US troops into combat situations.
ISIS controls at least 80 percent of Anbar. The US has been keen to expand Iraqi ground operations in the province, though ISIS seems like they will be the primary beneficiaries of the embedding, as it will give them opportunities to hit US troops in a way they could not readily do before.