[guest post by Dana]
President Obama told Congress today that he is sending 200 more troops to Iraq:
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” the president said in a letter to congressional leaders. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
Mr. Obama added that his action is “consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad.”
The White House maintains that U.S. forces will not re-enter combat in Iraq, even as the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continues to wreak havoc across the country.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday that the new troops were being dispatched along with a detachment of helicopters and drones.
This announcement now brings the total of U.S. forces in Iraq to nearly 800. According to the administration, U.S. forces are in Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy and protect American interests.
UPDATE: It should be noted that this deployment is a bit different from the previous ones in that these troops are “equipped for combat.”