When the U.S. Marines arrived at Iraq’s Al Asad air base last year, 26 combat advisers sent there to help choreograph a battle plan for ousting the Islamic State group, they were greeted by local soldiers dumbfounded to learn the Americans had no intention of leading the fight from the front.

“The Iraqis,” recalled Col. David Casey, who commanded those Marines, “really believed that we were going to come back with a larger force, and that we were going to take care of it.” They’d ask things like “when are you coming with the rest of your stuff?”

President Obama has made clear he will not send large infantry units back to Iraq, instead advocating a strategy that puts the onus on Baghdad to provide the necessary front-line troops. But the size and scope of the U.S. mission there has only grown as doubts persist about the Iraqis’ resolve.

Read More- Military Times

Image courtesy of US Army