President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 275 troops to Iraq "to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad."
"The force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat," Obama wrote in a letter to Congress made public late Monday.
Obama dated the deployment to Sunday, June 15 and said it would include "approximately 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel." He said the force would remain in Iraq "until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."
As the militant group ISIS took over Iraq's second city Mosul last week, spawning fears it could take the capital Baghdad, Obama said he was considering all options to assist in aiding the security situation in the country. White House spokesman Jay Carney later clarified to say: "We are not contemplating ground troops."
Carney said in a statement released on Monday that the personnel to be deployed "are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq."
Here is Obama's letter:
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE
June 16, 2014
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Starting on June 15, 2014, up to approximately 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat. This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.
This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy
interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.