President Obama is sending an “expeditionary force” of U.S. military special operators to carry out raids against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a move that expands on their decision to send about 50 special operators to Syria to coordinate air strikes.
“In full coordination with the Government of Iraq, we’re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on [ISIS],” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the House Armed Services Committee in announcing the new deployment on Tuesday.
Although the term “expeditionary force” evokes large-scale mobilizations such as those seen in World War II or the Iraq War, Carter outlined a more limited deployment. But his announcement still provoked questions about the legal basis for the move, and caused one Democrat to warn of the specter of nuclear war with Russia.
In arguing for the additional force, Carter invoked the recent rescue of ISIS prisoners in Iraq and the raid in Syria that killed a top commander in charge of the terrorist group’s oil and gas operations. “Imagine . . . on a standing basis, being able when occasions arise . . . to conduct raids like that anywhere in the territory of Syria and Iraq. That is what we’re talking about.”