Obama Sending 275 Troops to Iraq, May Send Special Forces (Updated) (Video)
Posted at 6:34 p.m. on June 16
Iraqi soldiers watch as armed tribesmen gather to show their willingness to join Iraqi security forces in the fight against jihadi militants. (AFP/Getty Images)
Updated 7:19 p.m. | U.S. troops will not be ordered into combat in Iraq, but there will be boots on the ground.
President Barack Obama is sending 275 troops to Iraq for security of U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy, the president said in a letter to Congress Monday.
According to a statement by Press Secretary Jay Carney, the troops will assist with the relocation of some staff from the embassy.
“These U.S. military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission,” Carney said.
Obama also is considering sending Special Forces into Iraq to help with training and other purposes, but not in direct combat, The Associated Press reported.
“The President was very clear that we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq,” said NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden in an email. “That remains the case and he has asked his national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces. As you know, already over the past year we have been steadily increasing our security assistance to the Iraqi government, including training inside Iraq by the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation and in Jordan; equipment; and intelligence.”
Updated Monday 7:19 p.m.:
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, backs the president’s actions so far but wants more.
“The Speaker supports the ongoing steps to secure US personnel and facilities in the midst of a fluid situation, but he still expects a comprehensive strategy to protect America’s national security interests in Iraq,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “We hope the President will offer such a plan in coming days. Too many Americans sacrificed too much to allow Iraq to slip back into chaos.”
Here’s the text of Obama’s letter:
Starting on June 15, 2014, up to approximately 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat.
This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.
This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.
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