ISIS Attacks on U.S. Military but Marines Barred from Returning Fire

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ISIS attacks in Iraq on U.S. military training security forces at al-Assad airbase in Iraq continue daily. U.S. Marines, who have been barred from ground combat by President Obama, are not returning fire. Instead, our troops must depend on the Iraq national security forces to deal with ISIS mortar attacks.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren says that these daily mortar attacks are nothing more than “nuisance attacks” and “completely ineffective.” Up until now, “no U.S. personnel or U.S. equipment” have come under direct fire at the base.

But what happens when the Islamic State gets lucky with one of these attacks? Will our Marines still be barred from returning fire? It seems like U.S. military officials do not want to discuss this possibility.

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ISIS Attacks Ineffective – For Now

About 320 Marines began training Iraq security forces – units from Iraq’s 7th Division – on Dec. 20 according to Army Col. Steve Warren. In recent weeks, our Marines have been under regular fire from ISIS.

The Islamic State terrorists have been lobbing crude rockets and mortar rounds at the base on a daily basis. And as we mentioned above, so far these attacks have been ineffective. But as we all know, with every incoming round, the chances go up that one of our Marines is injured or worse.

And right now, all our ground troops can do is sit back and depend on ISIS missing and the Iraq security forces doing their job. According to Warren, “The Iraqi security forces there have done a very good job of creating a security zone.”

Using Airstrikes in Iraq to Defend Marines

While our ground troops are barred from combat, that doesn’t mean the United States is sitting back and only depending on Iraq security forces to thwart ISIS attacks. On five days since Christmas, the U.S. and its allies have launched air strikes at ISIS targets near al Asad. Two of these air strikes on Monday “struck two [ISIS] tactical units and destroyed three [ISIS] vehicles,” according to a Pentagon release.

The problem with depending on these air strikes is that these ISIS shoot-and-scoot mortar teams are tough to take out from the air. They can easily set up, fire a few rounds and then return to a hiding spot in a home with civilians. Ground troops are much more effective at rooting out and taking out these ISIS terrorists.

What are your thoughts about our Marines being placed in harms way and ordered to not return fire and depend on security from the very troops they are there to train? Don’t forget, as Army Col. Steve Warren reminded reporters during his briefing that all U.S. military personnel have the “inherent right of self-defense” should they come under attack. But should we have to wait until the unacceptable happens before engaging ISIS terrorists?

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