As Hundreds of US Troops are Sent to Iraq, Fears of Mission Creep

By Lauren McCauley

Lawmakers and anti-war groups raise flags about additional troop deployments and calls for executive "flexibility"

As the number of American troops sent to Iraq nearly doubled on Monday and the White House continues to flex its executive privilege to make unilateral military decisions, citizens and lawmakers alike are raising concerns and objections over the escalating American presence in the country, asking: Are we nearing 'mission creep'?

"A continued escalation of U.S. commitment in Iraq is troubling," said Iraq war veteran and U.S. Senator John Walsh (D-Mont.) in a statement Tuesday.

Echoing the concerns of many, the lawmaker continued: "The President has promised to prevent ‘mission creep.’ But how many Americans will we deploy? How much money will we spend? How long until we demand the Iraqi people stand up and defend their own government?"

Walsh's comments came a day after it was announced that President Obama had deployed 300 additional troops, as well as more helicopters and armed Predator drones, to the war-torn nation. Operating under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, Obama has thus far sent roughly 650 American troops to Iraq. The legislation permits the president to send up to 770 troops to the country without Congressional approval.

During a Pentagon press conference on Tuesday, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby refused to rule out the possibility that more troops would be sent.

“Is there a grand total? No," Kirby told reporters. "But in terms of the grand total limit, he’s the commander in chief. He makes these decisions. And he needs the freedom to make those decisions as he and the military commanders and the civilian leadership here in the Pentagon advise him to.”

“There's no mission creep,” Kirby insisted when asked, but added that the situation in Iraq is "fluid" and that both the President and military leadership "expect and should have a certain measure of flexibility."

The Pentagon's repeated calls for "flexibility" in responding to the situation in Iraq, in addition to President Obama's claimed authority to send even more troops, has many on alert.

Last week, two members of Congress sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that respect the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq. Citing that letter, a coalition of 32 organizations including Iraq Veterans Against the War, Codepink and Peace Action issued a statement on Tuesday calling on other lawmakers to support their call and "demand a vote."

"The current situation in Iraq has grabbed the nation’s attention, and the President has already deployed U.S. military personnel and assets in response to the crisis," the group writes. "Yet the President and Administration officials have also suggested that the U.S. military may take further action, including potentially airstrikes and other uses of military force."

The letter cites recent news reports that have suggested that the President may proceed with further military intervention in Iraq without any Congressional approval.

In a memo sent to House Speaker John Boehner on Monday, Obama wrote that the troops were being deployed "for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property" from the fighters associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), recently renamed the "Islamic State." However, he added that the force "will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."


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4 Responses

  1. Congress critters that are concerned about “mission creep” have a very well documented and easy way to ensure that nothing happens. Any Senator or House person can write and introduce a bill to clearly limit the number and scope of involvement any US forces should be restricted to.

    Every congress critter that wants to limit involvement in the ME should throw a bill into the hopper and every congress critter that wants to kill lots of cannon fodder (AKA = American soldiers) killed and tons of treasure wasted should also put a declaration of war bill into the hopper.

    Just as Obama has told Boehner to “so sue me,” Obama should tell Congress to come up with a war or peace plan. Obama, like Johnson, is emotionally incapable of standing up to the military, so rather than go out on a thin unsupported limb, he should force congress critters to commit to a course of action so no matter what the outcome, congress critters get the blame or fame.

    Obama is a fool to go down the path to war without a huge majority of the American people behind him and given the current mood, there is a close to zero chance that Americans will support any involvement if another ME conflict with either US cannon fodder or treasure.

    President Obama – dump this on congress!

  2. Mission creep includes the president having the authority to start and/or escalate wars without Congressional approval. President Obama did that in Afghanistan and Libya. He almost took this country to war in Syria. Congress has no authority to stop him and if the American people did protest they could be detained and charged with national security violations.

    During war, the laws are silent.

    “Never forget we are a nation at war.” President Obama.

  3. We send advisers so as to have casualties to rationalize further intervention.

    If our advice was effective during the long war, their military would not have collapsed. General advice will require more detailed advice and training and more advisers will be sent. Then a few will be killed in some incident and the oligarchy media will scream for revenge, and more will die.

    As always there will be no prospect or intent of gains for the foreign population, the US will spend vast sums stolen from the middle class, and only the warmongers will gain.

  4. The U S Government’s only interest in Iraq is to get cheap oil for the oil cartels.
    The Government’s policy is to back any regime that will sell the cartels cheap oil. That these people have other priorities than enriching the global 1% is just beyond the people in our government.
    And if thousands more die and more $ Billions are wasted – So what? The Pols and the 1% never pay for their mistakes, it’s always the peasants money and blood that is lost.
    The U S may have the outward form of a Democracy, but it is a functioning Plutocracy with both political parties and the MSM working for the 1%.
    We have to change our Government at home before we can hope to change it’s policy overseas.

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