PERCEPTION PROBLEMS IN IRAQ. Conspiracy theories abound in wartime, and there is a doozy circling around Iraq: That the United States is actually in cahoots with the Islamic State. The Washington Post reports the widespread rumor is supported by videos, stories and communal certainty among many fighters and laypeople that if only the United States would stop supporting the Islamic State, they could wipe them out in a few days.

U.S. military officials, focused on eradicating the Islamic State, say the rumors are beyond ridiculous — and it appears they may be fueled by Shiite leaders trying to engender a shift away from the U.S. alliance and toward Iran. But it’s still not great news for the United States, which needs local buy-in to help with the fight — particularly on the ground, where the United States is loath to send many more ground troops and is trusting Iraqis to do a lot of the work.

NEW TASK FORCE TO FIGHT THE ISLAMIC STATE. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are committing a new Special Operations task force to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday. The force, about 200 strong, marks a shift back toward direct ground operations, instead of merely advising the Iraqi troops, The Washington Post reports.

GITMO PLAN A NO-GO. It would cost too much to shutter Guantanamo, the White House decided when presented with the Pentagon’s latest plan, costing over half a billion dollars — so they sent it back for revisions, the Wall Street Journal reports. That should guarantee even greater delays in delivering a plan to Congress, where the road to Guantanamo closure is so rocky that many members are openly worrying — and calling for — President Obama to simply try to shutter it himself.