A New American Military Push In Iraq

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The new US military push in Iraq against ISIS. More advisers. More arms. Is it enough? Too much? Is it mission creep?

In this file photo, A U.S. soldier trains an Iraqi security forces member in a shooting drill in Taji, north of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 21, 2015.  (AP)
In this file photo, A U.S. soldier trains an Iraqi security forces member in a shooting drill in Taji, north of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP)

Barack Obama took all US troops out of Iraq in 2011. He promised to do that in his campaign, and he did it before re-election time. Polls showed Americans liked that. Then came ISIS and the Islamic State and the fall of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. The US started bombing. The president said the US would not be Iraq’s air force. We are. Then US troops returned. First 350. Then another 1500. Now we’re over 3000.  Four-hundred-plus more, on the way. A new base. Maybe bases. This hour On Point: we’ll look at the expanding – again – US military role in Iraq, and where it goes.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Ben Wedeman, senior international correspondent for CNN. (@bencnn)

Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor for the Washington Post. (@jacksondiehl)

Barry Posen, director of MIT's Security Studies program, where is also the Ford International Professor of political science. Author of "Restraint."

Max Boot, senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Author of "Invisible Armies." (@maxboot)

From Tom’s Reading List

Foreign Policy: Prelude to a Quagmire -- "In the hopes of truly turning the tide, the United States has taken virtual ownership of the campaigns to eject the Islamic State from Ramadi, the rest of Anbar province, and ultimately Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the jihadis took a year ago. The incentives facing U.S. commanders and politicians are leading them ever closer to direct combat. If these assaults begin with U.S. ownership, they must end with U.S. victory. If they fail to unseat the Islamic State from these areas, it will be a political embarrassment at home and abroad."

Washington Post: For Obama, no middle ground in the Mideast — "Of course the United States is not the main cause of chaos in Iraq, Syria and much of the rest of the Middle East; and while Republican presidential candidates have unanimously condemned Obama’s 'weakness,' none are proposing a radical change of policy."

Commentary: Obama Embraces Hope But Little Change in Iraq — "The administration is apparently pinning its hopes on the passage of a law authorizing a National Guard composed of Sunni tribesmen, but Iraqi officials have been promising to pass that law for at least a year and haven’t delivered because sectarian Shiites have no interest in arming Sunnis. Perhaps that will suddenly change. And perhaps 450 additional trainers will somehow make a difference when the previous deployment of 3,000 personnel hasn’t done much to stop the ISIS onslaught. Perhaps the administration will get lucky, but hoping to fill an inside straight isn’t a good basis for policymaking."

This program aired on June 15, 2015.


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