If Troops Come Under Fire, WH Says ‘Force Protection is Always a Mission’

August 13, 2014 | 8:21 PM EDT

Deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes acknowledged Wednesday that if U.S. troops now in northern Iraq to assess ways to rescue civilians trapped and under threat by jihadist fighters come under fire they would protect themselves – but stressed that “the purpose and the mission that they are going to Iraq for is not to engage in combat.”