Personally, I think that the whole "they are just training forces" dodge is a canard.
That being said, when you move in artillery units with their guns, you are involved in the ground war, period, full stop:
The Pentagon has deployed several hundred Marines to northern Syria, the Washington Post and CNN reported this week. Their mission: firing long-range artillery to help recapture Raqqa, ISIS’s self-proclaimed capital city.This is unequivocally a combat role. This is boots on the ground.
The Marines are equipped with M777 howitzers, which can fire GPS-guided explosives up to 25 miles.
That’s a big change from the “train, advise, and assist” role U.S. forces have been playing so far — although as with many previous troop deployments to Iraq and Syria, it was not debated, let alone authorized, by Congress.
But the White House press secretary brushed off a question about the move, saying that sending “several hundred advisers” did not amount to “hostile action.”
Right-wing radio host John Fredericks asked Sean Spicer on Thursday whether Trump was committed to seeking congressional authorization for new deployments.
“I think there’s a big difference between an authorization of war than [sic] sending a few hundred advisers,” Spicer replied. “And I think most in Congress would probably agree with that as well. I think that’s a big difference between a hostile action and going in to address some certain concerns, whether it’s certain countries in the Middle East or elsewhere.”
Spicer referred the question to the Department of Defense. But when reached by The Intercept, a Pentagon spokesperson disputed Spicer’s characterization.
“This is fire support,” said Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a public affairs officer for the Marine Corps, explaining that the new deployment would fire long-range artillery in an assault on Raqqa. “They will be providing partner support for the Syrian Democratic Forces.”
This if f%$#ing artillery, aka the "King of the Battlefield."
We are in for a world of hurt here.