ISIS may have declared war on us, but because the Obama administration refuses to declare war on them, we have more than 1,600 military “advisers” on the ground in Iraq who are not eligible for a number of military medals that advocates for veterans say are important for troop morale.
Via The Hill:
The more than 1,600 troops who are serving as “advisers” cannot receive the Iraq Campaign Medal, which is reserved for troops deployed between March 19, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2011, defense officials say.
Nor are they eligible for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary or Service medals, which are only awarded to troops supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, originating with the 2001 Afghanistan War.
Veterans groups are upset over the exclusions, arguing the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) should be treated as an extension of previous military campaigns.
“If that’s not a terrorist organization, and this is not a war against ISIL, then I don’t know what this is,” said John Bircher, spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, who is also a Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
Advocates for veterans say the issue needs to be resolved swiftly.
Navy Cmdr. Daniel Dolan said, “having just recently retired, I know how things like this mean to the troops that are out there doing their part. So creating a ribbon, getting something at least started, would be a step in the right direction.”
“That’s usually one of the first things, you give it a name: Operation Desert Shield, Operation Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom. … I would hope somebody’s working on that as well,” he said.
But it doesn’t look like the Pentagon is any hurry to give the ISIS “counterterrorism operation” an official designation.
“I know of no plans at this point to name it,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby, last week.