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US troops in Baghdad: In and out

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How would you like to land into a war zone through the front door where most of the people at the gate hate your guts and don’t want you to be there? Welcome to Baghdad. Been there done that, and been there and done that again. This time, the mission for crack troops is to assess the situation to determine what assistance may be provided to make matters better for the central Iraq government.

American troops are assessing the battle strength of the Iraqi forces who must defend the city and nation. Iraqi forces which were dubiously recruited and trained by Americans ran from the fight, 30,000 weak warriors left their weapons and equipment behind in an act of cowardice betrayal. That fact is known going in. So, the question is what is left and how is their allegiance?

Is that assessment activity truly a ruse for other intelligence gathering? Probably a little of this and a little of that.

How about just asking President Nouri Maliki and his top military commander for an assessment?

The dreadful problem is trying to determine if there are some moderate Sunnis remaining in government who have any clout at all with the population and religious leaders as there is a last ditch effort to salvage the national government. What would be the strategy for segregating Sunnis that are not aligned with ISIS for the purpose of protecting innocents in the event of bombing ISIS targets?

Senator Marco Rubio articulated the mission best.

“Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., similarly urged U.S. action against the rebels' commanders and supply lines.

'This is not about saving Iraq or saving the government of Iraq or about building a country in Iraq,' Rubio said. 'That's a long-term goal for the Iraqi people. This is an urgent counterterrorism situation that our country faces. It grows more dire by the moment. Our options become more limited by the moment.'"

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-forces-flow-baghdad-assess-iraq-troops

That sounds like presidential material.

US FORCES FLOW INTO BAGHDAD TO ASSESS IRAQ TROOPS

By LOLITA C. BALDOR and BRADLEY KLAPPER
— Jun. 24, 2014 7:09 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly half of the roughly 300 U.S. military advisers and special operations forces expected to go to Iraq are now in Baghdad and have begun to assess Iraqi forces in the fight against Sunni militants, the Defense Department said Tuesday as the U.S. ramped up aid to the besieged country.

On Capitol Hill, senators who left a closed briefing with senior Obama administration officials expressed hope Iraq could soon form a new government, perhaps in the next week, facilitating greater U.S. military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who attended that meeting, backed what he described as an advancing American strategy.
At the Pentagon, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters the troops in Baghdad included two teams of special forces and about 90 advisers, intelligence analysts, commandos and some other support personnel needed to set up a joint operations center in the Iraqi capital. Another four teams of special forces would arrive in the next few days, Kirby said."

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-forces-flow-baghdad-assess-iraq-troops

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