It came to our attention this week that the Defense Department is using kinder, gentler terminology to describe its deployed units in Iraq, now that President Obama has pulled out all “combat” troops.
For example, according to a casualty press release we read, the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, is now called a “Stryker Advise and Assist Brigade” rather than the traditional “Stryker Brigade Combat Team” – even though the soldiers are presumably still driving the same 20-ton vehicles equipped with the same .50-caliber guns, grenade launchers, etc. And even though they are still dying in combat engagements with enemy fighters.
That brigade, by the way, is taking part in “Operation New Dawn,” according to the same press release. The name has a slightly different flavor than the longstanding “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Joint Base Lewis-McChord spokesman Joe Piek assures us that no such “advise and assist” name changes are under way for the three Stryker brigades – the 3rd, 4th and 5th brigades of the 2nd Infantry Division – which recently returned to Pierce County from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Presumably, they’ll still be preparing for combat, in Afghanistan or elsewhere.