WASHINGTON, D.C. — After much legal wrangling between the U.S. and the Iraqi government, Duffel Blog has learned that the U.S. military will be sending 10,000 green berets to Iraq.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has confirmed the berets, described by the Defense Logistics Agency as “beret, man’s, wool, rifle green, army shade 297,” were even now being loaded aboard an Air Force transport for immediate deployment to Iraq.
Hagel said he received the directive in a brief phone call from the White House last week, when President Obama told him “to send as many green berets to Iraq as we could.” Hagel added, “We were a little puzzled why he didn’t want us to send something more useful, like special forces or military advisers, but orders are orders.”
“Whatever, they don’t pay me to think,” he said.
The berets will be air-dropped to frontline Iraqi Army units in the hopes that the awe-inspiring headgear provides a vital and much-needed morale boost. Hagel said if the green berets work out, the U.S. will also begin surging thousands of similar red, black, and tan berets to Iraq.
In response to Hagel’s statement, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest initially said that there had been some “linguistic confusion.” He later amended his remarks to say that after careful deliberation President Obama has decided he likes this new plan much better.
"As we saw with our own Army in 2001, change can be difficult," Earnest said. "But as the Iraqi Army transforms from its legacy as checkpoint guards to one which conducts successful combat operations, the green beret will be a symbolic and visible demonstration that they are committed to victory... eventually... somewhere..."
Earnest added that the new strategy also fits with President Obama's decision to keep American boots off the ground and the president has halted the military’s current deployment of 300 barefoot American advisers to Iraq.
The use of the berets has not been without controversy. In order to rapidly deploy the berets, the Defense Department tapped into the Army’s yearly clothing allowance and has dangerously depleted its domestic supply, leaving some soldiers potentially hatless.
Iraq has a long and controversial history with the beret.
Some officials have also questioned why the U.S. continues to supply headgear and other clothing to Iraq after eleven years of failing to influence the Iraqi dress code. “If they’re not wearing green berets now, they’re never going to,” one highly-placed State Department critic of the policy said. “And how will this look to the Shias? Saddam Hussein used to wear a beret."
"More evidence that we don’t understand the culture: we should have issued them green turbans instead."
Hagel admitted there have been problems with the Iraqis too. The deployment of green berets, instead of more culturally appropriate keffiyeh, has been referred to by some members of the Iraqi parliament as a great insult, “as well as the decision to send them during Ramadan, since apparently these people can’t wear hats then too,” Hagel said.