Sending more US troops to Iraq fits a 2-year pattern

Robert Burns - Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's decision to send 217 more troops to Iraq and to put military advisers closer to the front lines, fits a pattern of ever-deepening involvement in a war against the Islamic State.

From the initial contingent of 170 US soldiers who entered Baghdad in June 2014, the troop total jumped to 1,550 six months later and topped 3,000 in April 2015.

The latest increase announced Monday by Defense Secretary Ash Carter pushes the authorized total above 4,000.

What the Pentagon calls "tightening the noose" on the militants, critics call indecisive steps with limited chance to succeed.

Obama's approach has been tempered, not just by his pledge to end US military involvement in Iraq after he took office in 2009, but also by the Iraqis' own political failings.

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