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Full Circle: Obama To Ask Congress For "Limited" Troop Deployment In Iraq

Several years ago, Obama impressed a handful of crusty, old people in Norway who believed the recent Illinois senator's vision of a world without war, validated by his eagerness to end the war in Iraq and withdraw US troops to their native country. He got an award for it.

Today, Obama will finally complete the circle started in August when, under the premise of "humanitarian intervention", allegedly meant to save a group refugees stranded on a mountain, Obama launched an airborne coalition effort to destroy the same group of radical jihadist extremists that the US was assisting when they were merely fighting the Assad regime in Syria. Because today is when Obama will officially request that those same troops that he so liberally pulled out in compliance with his Nobel Peace Prize, be put back in Iraq.

As Reuters reports, "U.S. President Barack Obama will propose to Congress on Wednesday a new three-year authorization for the use of force against Islamic State with limits on U.S. combat troops' involvement, lawmakers and congressional aides said."

The proposal would allow the use of special forces and advisors for defensive purposes but bar "enduring offensive ground forces," lawmakers and aides said. It would not, however, set geographic limits for the campaign against the group.

Just like Jordan piling thousands of troops on the Iraq border to invade Iraq in a preemptive strike is "defensive"?

A brief history of Obama's less than triumphal (and less than Nobel Peace Prizy) return to Iraq:

Obama has defended his authority to lead an international coalition against Islamic State since Aug. 8 when U.S. fighter jets began attacking the jihadists in Iraq. But he has faced criticism for failing to seek the backing of Congress, where some accuse him of breaching his constitutional authority.

 

Facing pressure to let lawmakers weigh in on an issue as important as the deployment of troops and chastened by elections that handed power in Congress to Republicans, he said in November he would request formal authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).

 

An outline of that request, expected to be handed to Congress on Wednesday, could stir debate over how U.S. troops should be deployed and the extent of U.S. engagement in Iraq and Syria.

Actually it won't stir any debate among the neo-cons, whose compensation is largely determined by the military-industrial complex lobby dollars - they will be quite delighted. It may stir some debate among the progressive rank of democrats as they scramble to resolve the cognitive dissonance that the peace-loving president is going back to George Bush's so much hated ground zero, and find a way to spin and package it for public consumption. The good news: there is a catalyst:

Fueled by outrage over the death of aid worker Kayla Mueller, the last-known U.S. hostage held by Islamic State militants, as well as the slayings of journalists and a Jordanian pilot, lawmakers said they planned quick hearings on the authorization, and a vote within weeks of Congress' return from a Feb. 16-20 recess.

As a reminder, according to ISIS it was Jordan airstirkes, obviously with the US blessing, that killed Mueller. We doubted this explanation, but it was not until the CIA and the Pentagon chimed in and made it very clear just who killed the US hostage, that we knew for certain what had happened:

Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby was asked Tuesday if there was any doubt who killed the aid worker.

 

He replied: "No doubt. ISIL," using the initials the group is known by.

 

Kirby says U.S. officials still don't know how Mueller died. But he added that officials are certain it was not in one of the airstrikes Jordan launched in retaliation for the killing of one of its pilots.

So... the US doesn't know, but it is certain it wasn't a Jordanian airstrike. And a little over decade ago the US was certain it was Iraqi WMDs too...

In any event, next up in Congress: the usual circus as the US prepares to invade a nation once again under a humanitarian intervention pretext.

Many of Obama's fellow Democrats, war-weary after more than a dozen years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, say they will oppose any AUMF that includes "boots on the ground." Obama's opposition to the Iraq War helped propel him to victory in the 2008 campaign and bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan has been a focus of his presidency.

 

"I worry that this AUMF gives the ability for the next president to put ground troops back into the Middle East," said Senator Chris Murphy, adding that that would be a sticking point for himself and many other Democrats.

 

Some hawkish Republicans oppose restrictions on military commanders such as a ban on ground troops. Others are calling for a more extensive authorization allowing U.S. forces to challenge President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, where a four-year-long civil war has fueled the rise of the Islamic State group.

 

"If the authorization doesn't let us counter Assad's air power, I think it will fail," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican foreign policy voice.

Surely the only way this tragicomedy would be even more complete is if Brian Williams delivered the news that America is about to bomb some more folks straight into a modern democracy to the people.

The best part: between the European Union admitting later today it is anything but, and the US on the verge of another land war in Asia, the stock market is poised to hit a fresh all time high, just because.