By Thomas Madison

In December, 2011 King Barack Hussein spoke before an audience of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, proclaiming success in Iraq, declaring that the war was over.

“We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self reliant Iraq,” crowed His Most Exalted Majesty.

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Great sound bite, regrettably and horribly wrong.

This week His Most Illustrious Magnificence is sending 1,000 paratroopers from that same division back to the country he abandoned, which has turned into a miserable hellhole of death and destruction at the hands of ISIS. He ignored the very wise counsel of his top military advisors, who told him it was a mistake to pull out of Iraq completely. Live, learn and have other people die for it.

1,000 paratroopers from 82nd Airborne headed to Iraq this week

By Amanda Dolasinski, The Fayetteville Observer, via Stars and Stripes

Published: January 25, 2015

The 82nd Airborne, and more specifically its 3rd Brigade Combat Team, are no strangers to Iraq.

Since 2003, parts of the brigade have deployed in support of U.S. efforts there on at least three occasions.

Now, more than three years after the U.S. military presence in Iraq was thought over, about a quarter of the Panther Brigade will return with a new mission to help train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State.

About 1,000 paratroopers from the brigade will deploy this week as part of the Operation Inherent Resolve mission.

The deployment was officially announced in December and is expected to last nine months.

As his paratroopers prepared for the mission, the brigade commander, Col. Curtis A. Buzzard, has watched tensions boil in the Middle East – and Iraq in particular – as forces have fought against the Islamic State group, also known by the acronym DAESH based on the group’s Arabic name, ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wash-Sham.

“We’ve seen the impact of DAESH over the last year and a half, not just on Iraq, but on the region,” Buzzard said. “It’s clearly an existential threat.

“It’s an absolutely brutal element that has impacts all across the region and instability in the region and you can see that clearly in Syria, Iraq, potentially Libya and Yemen,” he said. “The world can’t stand by and watch.”

Starting this week, Buzzard’s troops are done watching.

They’ll join about 250 paratroopers from the brigade already deployed to provide security to U.S. personnel.

But these latest troops will instead advise and assist Iraqi forces with the planning and execution of the counter offensive against the Islamic State.

Pivotal for Iraq

Buzzard said his troops are ready.

They share the 82nd Airborne’s mindset that its soldiers could be sent anywhere at anytime and the deployment comes just a few months after the brigade finished its rotation on the nation’s Global Response Force, a quick-reaction force of sorts that stands ready to deploy at any time for humanitarian or combat operations.

“As the situation in Iraq has evolved, I think we all recognized at some point we might be in a position to help advise them,” he said. “As part of the GRF, we’re prepared to go anywhere globally. Iraq has been out there as a potential.”

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