President Barack Obama announced that the United States will send up to 275 Marines and army soldiers to Iraq, where they will be responsible for protecting the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and other U.S. interests there. The move is seen as a small response to the spiraling crisis in Iraq, where insurgents affiliated with the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have taken Mosul and are advancing on Baghdad. An additional 100 U.S. soldiers have been put on standby.
You know what 275 Marines equals?
The ass-whupping of the 800 ISIS troops that ran off the entire Iraqi army.
You know what else 275 Marines equals?
The Alamo redux.
Not that there’s much physical comparison; if you’ve had the pleasure of visiting San Antonio in the cool season 1 you can attest to how easy it is to drive around downtown without finding that tiny little church. Not so with the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad – that sucker’s monstrous. Indeed, it’s the largest embassy in the world, rivaling Vatican City in size. 275 Marines ought to be able to hold out in there for quite a while.
The question is, of course, do we think it necessary they do so?
275 Marines can do a whole hell of a lot. But they can’t withstand an army.
In a perfect world..wait, fuck that; in any world where the U.S. intelligence agencies functioned correctly 2, we would have been supplied with advance warning sufficient to rotate 275 Marines in-country to move the majority of our embassy personnel ahead of the ISIS coming out party, then accompany the remaining staff out of Iraq as it imploded.
But our intelligence agencies are apparently for shit. 3
And now the White House is ‘stuck’: if we do nothing and ISIS takes the embassy, that’s bad; if we fly our personnel out of Iraq we lose ‘prestige’, also (politically) bad. 4 So instead we’re flying in 275 Marines. 5
Why does that strike us as a precursor to later flying in a brigade?
- February 3rd – 5th of any given year. ↩
- Lookin’ at you, NSA, CIA, DISA et al. ↩
- Though they seem to do just fine spying on our own citizens. ↩
- You know…the ‘prestige’ we spent over a decade and trillion dollars building up in Iraq? ↩
- Buttressed, if need be, by 100 soldiers on ‘standby’. For soldiers, read SOG. ↩