Obama's test: Try to avoid 'mission creep' in Iraq

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is charting a new phase of American military engagement in Iraq, and he says a war-weary United States won't be "dragged back" into a lengthy conflict.

The president is promising to guard against "mission creep."

Despite those assurances, America's recent military history is full of warning signs about the difficulty of keeping even a limited mission from expanding and extending.

The prospect of that pattern being followed in Iraq is particularly risky for Obama. He's staked so much of his legacy on withdrawing U.S. troops.

Some of the White House's closest allies are voicing concern that Obama's plan to send in 300 special operations forces to train the Iraqi military could be the first step in pulling the U.S. back into Iraq's sectarian fight.

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