The era of perpetual war is apparently upon us.
Last week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, basically said as much to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Defense, stating that even after the Islamic State is disposed of through ongoing operations in both Syria and Iraq, it will be necessary for U.S. troops to remain in the region for at least the immediate years that follow.
And that timeline begins only after ISIS is defeated.
Addressing the committee members, Mattis said, “I believe it’s in our national interest that we keep Iraqi security forces in a position to keep our mutual enemies on their back foot.”
While many in America have viewed with disdain the “re-populating” of Iraq with U.S. troops, a large number of military and political leaders blame the imperative of the previous presidential administration to exit that country - without regard to whether the job was done – as the principal reason why the Islamic State has been able to flourish in the region in recent years. President Obama oversaw the entire removal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Referencing this, Mattis went on to directly tell the committee members that “I don’t see any reason to pull out again and face the same lesson.”
Presently, the U.S. contingent in the region is comprised of both U.S. special operations forces and conventional troops representing both Army and Marine Corps units.
For his part, Gen. Dunford told committee members that “the Iraqi security forces will need that kind of support for years to come.”
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large