Pentagon Weighing Opening More Bases in Iraq

by Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube /  / Updated 

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The U.S. is considering opening additional bases in Iraq to help shore up efforts in the fight against ISIS, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday, a move that could possibly further cement American presence in the war torn nation after Iraqi forces suffered a string of embarrassing defeats to the terrorist organization.

The bases would be similar to the Taqaddum base in Iraq where the U.S. administration is sending 450 more U.S. military personnel to help Iraq's military as it tries to take back the city of Ramadi from the terrorist group ISIS. The U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role and will augment the more than 3,000 U.S. troops who have already deployed to Iraq, according to administration officials.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Marty Dempsey first spoke about this plan while traveling overseas during a trip to Italy on Thursday.

Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Steve Warren acknowledged that these new bases could mean the need for additional U.S. troops to deploy to Iraq, serving mainly as advisers to the Iraqi Security Forces and as logistics and support personnel — including security.

He added that some of the forces for the new bases could also be drawn from troops already serving in Iraq.

Related: U.S. Sending 450 Military Personnel to Iraq for Ramadi Battle

Warren would not speculate on how many additional bases were under consideration or how many additional troops this could mean, saying only that any place where the U.S. had a forward operating base in Iraq during the war is under consideration.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday said the administration would view the decision on opening more facilities as a signal "that previous efforts have been useful."

During President Barack Obama's first term, the administration spent considerable effort working to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said they've found the recent news about increased U.S. presence in Iraq unsettling.

"This is how Vietnam started," Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, told reporters on Wednesday. "If you don’t think we’re putting (U.S. military personnel) in harms way you’re not living in the real world."

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