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Defense Chief: Iraqis ‘Still In The Lead’ Against ISIS

Defense Secretary Ash Carter appeared on NBC Nightly News to discuss the recent troop deployment to Iraq in the battle against the so-called Islamic State.

“Iraqis are still in the lead.” the SecDef told Lester Holt.

“Americans are at risk today, every single day here. As secretary of Defense, I take that more seriously than anything else. I want our troops to be effective, but I want them also to be as safe as possible, consistent with that,” he said.

“It’s very important to do this because we have to and we will defeat ISIL. We need to get that done as soon as possible and that means being more aggressive in the moves we make.”

The Hill reports:

Earlier Monday, Pentagon officials announced that 200 more U.S. troops are being sent to the country to support Iraqi forces as they fight to retake Mosul from ISIS.

Also, teams of about a dozen U.S. troops each can now embed with Iraqi brigades and battalions, putting them closer to the fight than before. Those teams will be there to offer advice and assistance, officials said.

Carter’s was responding to a question from Holt on whether the changes put more American lives at risk.

Still, Carter said, the changes are needed to speed up the defeat of ISIS.

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