So now, we don't have "boots on the ground" fighting in Iraq. Instead, we have "advisors" being deployed to Iraq in order to be "embedded" with Iraqi units.
So, when Steve Kroft from CBS actually finds a hardball in the bucket of questions he is lobbing at Barack the Teleprompter Reader, it is interesting to see how he qualifies and hedges his statement regarding exactly what their mission is.
Steve Kroft: You know, you’ve said no American boots on the ground. No combat troops on the ground. We’ve got 1,600 troops there.
President Obama: We do.
Steve Kroft: Some of them are going to be out, embedded with Iraqi units.
President Obama: Well, they’re in harm’s way in the sense that any time they’re in war, it’s dangerous. So I don’t want to downplay the fact that they’re in a war environment and there are hostile forces on the other side. But…
Steve Kroft: And they participated in combat operations.
President Obama: Well, there’s a difference between them advising and assisting Iraqis who are fighting versus a situation in which we got our Marines and our soldiers out there taking shots and shooting back.
As someone who has done this job, let me clear up any misconceptions that the President, or any of his camp followers have regarding what my role as an embedded trainer was; there is just as much or more combat as there is advising.
In fact, the entire deployment I was on in 06/07 was spent in the field with an Afghan unit, "advising" (fighting). The Taliban and the Haqqani Network were eager for battle with Afghan units, because they knew that attacking American units was a bad day.
This is what those "embedded trainers" are doing right now in Iraq, so with the Pak border over my right shoulder, here I am "advising" the company commander with my terp on what our next move is, which for him was to get out of his truck and do his damn job instead of hanging out like a spectator. About an hour before this we had found a rocket launcher that was hidden in the trees and had been firing on FOB Bermel. It turned out our next move after this little confab (sarcasm doesn't translate well into Pashto BTW--ed) was to get in a firefight about 5 minutes after this picture was taken with an LP/OP that had been watching us.
This is the Weapons Company (yep, that is all of them) in Zerok, where we put a COP in 2006. It was also where we saw our heaviest fighting in our sector. In 2009 on July 4th, this attack took place there.
There are quite a few of us who know exactly what the job of "advisor" entails and when the PINO says "Well, there’s a difference between them advising and assisting Iraqis who are fighting versus a situation in which we got our Marines and our soldiers out there taking shots and shooting back." I promise you, there isn't a difference from where they are standing, because if they are doing their job, they are standing next to those Iraqis helping to advise them on how to get the job done.
These are the types of words games that we play with our moms and wives and girlfriends in order to convince them that it isn't what it looks like on the news and despite all that, they lay awake at night wondering and contemplating the "ifs" that no one wants to contemplate. These aren't the words of a leader by any measure.
So when the PINO tries to hedge and minimize and play words games about what the US Military Units forward deployed are doing in Iraq, he is only doing so in order to somehow make Code Pink and Media Matters happy with his statements of his non-Bush war stance during his "extended counter-terrorism operation" that may last "years."
For those of us who have lived it, it is exactly what it is...