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Kerry Says U.S. Troops Could Deploy to Iraq

For those who argued with the theory about a month ago that interceding in Iraq for “humanitarian purposes” to help the Yazidis was just a subterfuge to have the U.S. re-enter a messy war that supposedly ended for us in 2011, well, you were wrong. It was. Enjoy that slippery slope.

This Means War

Just hours ahead of the president’s speech where he is expected to widen the current Iraq War, possibly expand the war into Syria, all the while pledging there will be “no American boots on the ground,” Secretary of State John Kerry got ahead of his boss when he raised the possibility U.S. troops could be committed to ground operations in Iraq in extreme circumstances, the first hedging by an Obama administration official on the president’s pledge that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground to battle the Islamic State.

Kerry made the comment during a news conference after a day of meeting with Iraqi officials.

While Kerry reiterated that Obama has indeed said that no U.S. combat troops would be deployed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, he adding “unless, obviously, something very, very dramatic changes.”

No U.S. official has previously used those words in discussing the growing U.S. confrontation with the Islamic State.

Just as a reminder of the last few weeks, here’s some history:

Doomed to Repeat It

— From 2011 until early August, the U.S. was not involved overtly, militarily, in Iraq.

— In announcing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq in August, Obama said they would be limited to preventing Islamic State genocide of the Yazidi religious minority, a tasking quickly expanded to stopping the ISIS advance on the Kurdish capital of Irbil. Special Forces’ boots were on the ground.

— As Obama deployed upwards of 1000 American troops as “advisors” into Iraq, the air mission was widened into protecting them and the embassy.

— The Yazidi’s forgotten, the U.S. moved into providing close air support for Kurdish troops fighting,bombing near the Mosul Dam, being the air force for Iranians and Iranian-trained Shiite militia breaking the Islamic State siege of Amerli, and forces of whoever is fighting around the Haditha dam.

Conclusion?

While in Baghdad, Kerry also said “Every single [Iraqi] leader I talked with today in the strongest terms possible affirmed that they had learned the lessons of the past years” and were determined “to move in a different direction from the direction of years past,” he said.

Ah, if only American leaders would do the same.

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Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon

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Kerry Says U.S. Troops Could Deploy to Iraq

For those who argued with the theory about a month ago that interceding in Iraq for “humanitarian purposes” to help the Yazidis was just a subterfuge to have the U.S. re-enter a messy war that supposedly ended for us in 2011, well, you were wrong. It was. Enjoy that slippery slope.

This Means War

Just hours ahead of the president’s speech where he is expected to widen the current Iraq War, possibly expand the war into Syria, all the while pledging there will be “no American boots on the ground,” Secretary of State John Kerry got ahead of his boss when he raised the possibility U.S. troops could be committed to ground operations in Iraq in extreme circumstances, the first hedging by an Obama administration official on the president’s pledge that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground to battle the Islamic State.

Kerry made the comment during a news conference after a day of meeting with Iraqi officials.

While Kerry reiterated that Obama has indeed said that no U.S. combat troops would be deployed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, he adding “unless, obviously, something very, very dramatic changes.”

No U.S. official has previously used those words in discussing the growing U.S. confrontation with the Islamic State.

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Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

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