The Corner

How Do You Define ‘Combat,’ Mr. Carter?

When it was reported that a U.S. Special Forces member was killed as a result of an encounter with ISIS in northern Iraq, the White House stayed mostly quiet, leaving Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to comment on the incident while attending a conference in Germany.

When he eventually deigned to speak, White House press secretary Josh Earnest hedged, contending that “Iraq and Syria are dangerous places” and refusing to acknowledge that the soldiers (whom he referred to as “advisers”) are operating in a combat role at all.

The problem for the Obama administration is that newly released video, obtained by the Guardian, shows the firefight incident that resulted in the death of Keating, and it sure looks like U.S. forces are operating in a “combat role” to me. In the video, U.S. Special Forces are seen taking cover behind encamped mini vans, ducking and returning intense fire. They can even be seen wearing boots.

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