The Obama administration is preparing to send “advisers” into Syria:

The Obama administration is expected to announce on Friday a decision to deploy a small number of special operations forces in an advisory role to Syria, U.S. administration and congressional sources said.

One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the number of special operations forces to be deployed was “tiny” but did not give a number.

This is a classic example of how the Obama administration has conducted this war. It represents yet another small expansion of the ever-expanding war on ISIS, which has continued to grow incrementally beyond every limit that the president set for it. Obama previously insisted that there would be no U.S. forces on the ground engaged in combat in this war, and now there almost certainly will be. By itself, this “tiny” deployment will presumably have little or no impact on the course of the conflict, and so will quickly be deemed inadequate by Syria hawks that have wanted a more aggressive policy all along, but it opens the door to larger deployments and even deeper involvement in the Syrian civil war.

It is fair to wonder whether the administration actually thinks this measure will do any good. It is quite possible that they are providing a sop to hawkish critics just as they did when they started arming the “moderate” opposition. Should this measure fail to produce the desired results, the administration will then seek to avoid responsibility for making the attempt by pinning it on their hawkish critics. The presence of U.S. forces on the ground in Syria will probably provide ISIS with a propaganda and recruitment boost, and of course it puts the lives of American soldiers at risk as part of an ill-advised and unnecessary conflict.

The administration continues to escalate its illegal war in Iraq and Syria, but it is doing so in such a halting, gradual way that it doesn’t raise any alarms.