“It is a combat death, of course, and a very sad loss.” That is how Defense Secretary Ash Carter described the death of a Navy Seal Tuesday at the hands of ISIS in northern Iraq. U.S. military officials said the Seal was killed near Mosul, a town which coalition forces controlled until President Obama ordered a drawdown of forces. ISIS then easily swept into the area, and now launch their strikes and control their operations from there. The Seal was involved in a firefight with a member of ISIS who the Pentagon says probably used an AK-47 to kill our brave warrior.
Our men are there to “advise and support” the Peshmerga forces as they fight to regain control of Mosul. We had it. We gave it up. Now we are trying to help the Kurds retake it.
Three U.S. military men have been killed on the ground fighting against ISIS. In October Delta Force Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler was killed while fighting to free 70 ISIS hostages. Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin lost his life in March when ISIS fired a rocket at his base.
And yet, every time the Administration or the Pentagon announces a new deployment of U.S. servicemen to the war zone they stress to us how these are not combat troops, and how these troops are not “boots on the ground.” How can they say that? Clearly they are using typical Washington-speak or some sort of technicality to be able to avoid calling these brave men “combat troops,” but as far as I can tell that’s precisely what they are. When you are taking rocket fire or involved in a firefight or involved in a hostage rescue mission, and you are engaging the enemy, you are clearly in combat. You are a combat troop whose boots are on the ground.
When you give your life for your country you are a hero, a brave warrior, and someone to whom this nation owes a tremendous debt of gratitude. May God bless our troops and their families.