“Refusing to release the total number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq”

The Pentagon is refusing to release the total number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq, despite claiming for months that the full force is holding steady at around 3,800. On Monday, a Baghdad-based military spokesman for the U.S. effort in Iraq said he has been ordered not to divulge the true number, which could be hundreds higher than that. The spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, is himself not counted among U.S. troops on the ground, despite being based in Baghdad since last September. Questions about the U.S. footprint in Iraq rose anew after an American Marine on a previously undisclosed mission was killed Saturday, when two Katyusha rockets launched by Islamic State fighters slammed into the outpost where he was based in the country’s north. His death forced the Pentagon to confirm the deployment of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in which he was serving. As many as 200 Marines have been posted at the firebase just 50 miles south of the Islamic State-controlled city of Mosul”.

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