Under a negotiated deal with Iraq, the US is allowed to deploy a maximum of 3,870 ground troops in the nation at any given time. In spite of this, the Pentagon has conceded that they have closer to 5,000 troops inside Iraq. They insist this isn’t technically a violation, because those extra troops are just “temporary.”
But how temporary? That’s not clear. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren today conceded that the 200 US Marines at Firebase Bell are all “temporary,” but that there is no scheduled end date for their operation, saying they are just going to stay until there is an “enduring solution.”
That potentially means a deployment lasting years on end, of course, and means that the “temporary” troops are no more temporary than any other US troops deployed anywhere else, staying as long as the Pentagon figures they need to.
The only conclusion then is that the “temporary” label has been artificially added to recently deployed troops simply to keep the number nominally under the 3,870 cap.Whether the US can really keep this up as they continue to add more troops, however, remains to be seen.