The Trump Administration is escalating its presence in Northern Iraq to include over 300 additional U.S. troops from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in an attempt to beat back the presence of ISIS in the city. The move is slated to be temporary, but no timeline for withdrawal has been given.
A Mar. 27 Military Times report on the escalation stated, “The paratroopers comprise two infantry companies and a route-clearance platoon from the division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, according to a U.S. defense official, who spoke to Military Times on the condition of anonymity.” They were scheduled to depart for their mission yesterday.
This follows Trump’s escalation in Syria as well. Earlier in March, Trump escalated American presence in Syria to 900 troops to fight in Raqqa, an important battleground in the war between ISIS, and forces aligned with Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad, who expressed deep skepticism toward Trump’s military “invaders.”
Trump’s foreign policy was incoherent while running for President, as he had frequently bashed the war in Iraq and America’s role in the Syrian conflict yet also expressed sympathy for brutal bombing campaigns and torture. It seems that Trump’s interventionist leanings are winning out with troops already flooding the region two months into his Presidency.
It remains to be seen if Trump’s military adventurism yields better results than the work of his predecessors. He is working to increase the largest military budget in history by an unprecedented margin, and based upon early indicators in Iraq and Syria, plans to use it.
“Instead of increasing the military budget, we ought to be debating the imperial mission the budget finances. We can’t afford the empire – both in terms of the money it costs and the enemies it creates,” libertarian commentator Sheldon Richman said in an Antiwar.com column.
It does not appear that Trump will be considering those questions for quite some time – if he does at all.