The Special Forces troops sent to Iraq will be there to advise the government troops when they fight Sunni militants, but they have been instructed to avoid offensive operations. The battle has no specific front lines, so avoiding combat could be difficult.
Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Fowkes says the U.S. soldiers are highly-trained to help in a situation like this.
“To call this a non-combat role is ... Special Forces don't do that,” Fowkes says. “They advise, all but command the unit.”
The White House has repeatedly said combat troops will not return to Iraq. The Pentagon told those Special Forces soldiers they will not be receiving combat pay.
They are there to solidify the Iraqi government’s efforts.
“These aren't like Special Operations which actually go in and shoot people,” he says. “These people are like the glue to hold the various parts together.”