Iraq conundrum: When is a combat boot a ‘boot on the ground’?

August 14, 2014 12:42 AM

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. decision to send Marines and special operators into northern Iraq to assess whether to evacuate members of a trapped minority sect from a mountain and away from the Islamic State marked an Obama administration abandonment of a pledge of no boots on the ground, some analysts and Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

Unlike the previous group of advisers dispatched to Iraq to work alongside their Iraqi counterparts in joint operation centers in cities the Islamic State has yet to overrun, the latest advisers had to visit the Sinjar mountains. While the outcome of that visit remains unclear, Christopher Harmer, a...

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