The decision to double the number of US ground troops in Iraq, and to send those new ground troops to the front line has been a significant escalation of the ISIS conflict, and one President Obama has presented as a “new phase” of the war.
The timing, less than a week after the mid-term election, was seen as deliberate, as the administration had sought to keep the controversial new war out of the political drama in the lead-up to the vote, and Congressional leaders were desperate to avoid any debate of the conflict before the election.
But beyond further escalation, the administration’s plans for the war itself are as murky as ever. It keeps growing, as do the stated goals, but how the US military will actually get there remains largely unstated, and seemingly unknown.
To the extent officials have plans at all, they are as tight-lipped as ever. Without the excuse of the elections, it is less likely that they are simply holding their cards close to their chests, and more likely that they just don’t have a strategy at all.
At least not a strategy for victory. The administration does have a strategy for escalation, and that simple involves doing more and more.