So what will those military advisers wear in Iraq?


Shoes from the Paul Smith collection in London on June 17. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)

President Obama announced Thursday that he was dispatching up to 300 U.S. Special Operations troops to advise and train Iraqi forces as they battle Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

Granted, the Iraq situation is fast-changing and complex, but the announcement may have surprised some folks who’d followed prior statements on the matter from the White House.

On June 12, former White House press secretary Jay Carney repeatedly told reporters that there would be no troops dispatched to Iraq.

“Again, we’re not contemplating boots on the ground,” Carney said. There may be some air support action, he said, “but we’re not considering boots on the ground.”

Okay, that was a full week before Obama’s June 19 announcement. But as late as Monday afternoon, June 16, principal deputy press secretary — and now White House press secretary Josh Earnest — was telling reporters:

“I guess the other thing that I want to do here is reiterate something that the President said on Friday, which is that any of the military options that the President might consider, they would not include an open-ended military commitment. They would not include combat boots on the ground.”

But now that 300 troops are going over there, Loop Fans have been asking: If they are not going to be wearing boots, what are they going to be wearing? Loafers? Wing-tips? Some space-age boots with jet-packs that let them hover over the ground?

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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