While the White House claims that American ground troops are not in combat in Iraq, and the Pentagon avoids describing US military activities in the country, there are clear proofs of US soldiers’ involvement in Iraqi fighting against the ISIL.
While the White House claims that American ground troops do not conduct military operations in Iraq, and the Pentagon avoids describing US activities in Iraq as ground combat, facts speak to the contrary.
“The president is not contemplating the deployment of combat boots on the ground into Iraq or Syria to deal with this situation,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on September 8, 2014, explaining the deployment of US troops in Iraq by a need to protect “American citizens in the region.”
According to US Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, who is in charge of American ground forces in Iraq, US ground troops just “advise and assist the Iraqis” in offensive on Mosul.
At the same time, we can see regular reports about US soldiers, losing their lives in Iraq. Apparently, military advising has become a very dangerous occupation in recent time.
So, according to a statement of the Pentagon, on October 20, an American service member was killed by a roadside bomb of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group somewhere in northern Iraq. As usually, the Defense Department did not provide any additional information on where exactly the attack occurred, what unit the individual belonged to, or whether the incident had anything to do with the Iraqi offensive on Mosul.
On May 3, a US Navy SEAL lost his life near Tall Usquf town. As an official press release revealed, the death of Special Warfare Officer Charles Keating was from “combat related causes,” but not just ‘combat’.
On March 19, Marine Corps staff sergeant Louis Cardin was killed during an IS rocket attack on the Fire Base Bell artillery outpost (later, the Pentagon renamed it the Kara Soar Counter Fire Complex), established in spring, 2016, and located around 40 miles south of Mosul. The base was in a war zone close to the front lines that is enough strange place for deployment of “military advisers.”
In addition, in April, 2016, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph Dunford, traveled to the base in order to hand out four Purple Hearts, which American service members receive only after being killed or wounded by an enemy, to other soldiers from the same unit.
As of October 20, a regularly updated table of the Pentagon showed that 25 American soldiers and one civilian employee have lost their lives in the fight with the IS. However, only three deaths were classified as “killed in action” by US military.
In addition, photos, regularly published on the official website of the US Army, as well as some video, which sometimes appear online, show American troops, firing shells at the IS in Iraq.
“Sometimes these fires come … from our artillery and our HIMARS systems that we’ve got on the ground here,” spokesman for the Pentagon, Army Col. Steve Warren, told journalists on October 1, 2015. “There are a lot of different components to this battlefield.”
According to reports, there were about 3,700 American soldiers, as well as nearly 8,000 US-employed contractors in Iraq by January 2016. In addition, on September 28, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the US sends about 600 more soldiers to Iraq in order to support the offensive on Mosul. The troops were going to be deployed to Qayyarah, an air base, located 65 kilometers south of Mosul. So, at least 4,300 US ground troops have been deployed close to the front lines in Iraq allegedly for providing military ‘advice and assist’ to local soldiers.
No matter what the White House, the Pentagon or anyone else says, US soldiers are in combat in Iraq. In any other war, the troops would have been close enough to the fighting for it to count as combat.