Saturday, November 08, 2014

What happens if...?

The decision by President Obama and the Pentagon to add 1500 U.S. troops to Iraq is difficult to evaluate from this perspective.  Certainly Islamic State is a horrific threat to the area.  The dearth of on the ground journalistic reporting now from both Iraq and Syria leaves observers with limited access to first hand accounts, insights, and observations.

Rather than add U.S. troops, or if necessary in addition to that, it seems that giving further aid to the Kurd's Peshmurga forces is an opportunity that is being overlooked.  Kurdish forces that have been the most potent protection against Islamic State haven't received any of the heavy weapons that it asks for and needs to fight on even terms with the enemy(Islamic State of course being the beneficiary of billions of dollars worth of the best arms and equipment when the U.S. built and supported but corrupt Iraqi army folded).  While small arms and ammunition have been provided, the artillery and first rate tanks and other vehicles have not.  This has been discussed here several times in recent months, as Obama's fear that a more powerful Peshmurga would hinder his pipe dream of a unified Iraq and that hope stands in the way.

The point on that is, Wouldn't it be better to appropriately aid an effective indigenous force than put the burden on U.S. troops and an American public that has serious battle fatigue?  The point of this post is to ask, What happens if or when what may be inevitable occurs?  That is, what happens when a U.S. soldier is captured by Islamic State and then shows up in a dreadful video on You Tube?

The plan, adamantly stated, is that American soldiers are not combat troops.  That is the intention, but with the plan also being that these soldiers will be embedded with Iraqi troops around the country, not only in Baghdad and Erbil, but also in other areas including the volatile and contentious Anbar province, combat or not these soldiers could be in a vulnerable position.

This certainly raises the possibility of a dire consequence that unfortunately needs to be contemplated.


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