Breaking: President Obama Announces (Limited) Air Campaign In Iraq

 

Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.  Let me explain the actions we’re taking and why.    

First, I said in June — as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq — that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it.  In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces. 

To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.  We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.  We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.

Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.  As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis.  And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect.  Countless Iraqis have been displaced.  And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women. 

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  1. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Good.

    I’d want more preparation than actually stopping ISIS; I want us to be prepared to take them out. But any movement toward action, and against standing around is a good thing. At least we’re seeing a spark of life. 

    How this develops will tell the tale.

    • #1
  2. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    What some guy named Churchill said: Americans can be counted on to do the right thing, but only after exhausting all other possibilities.

    • #2
  3. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    About time he did something.  This man is a dysfunctional procrastinator.  I hope it’s not too late.  Even so, it’s too measured.  We really need to take the country back with an invading force.  I know, easier said than done, but I think it should be done.

    • #3
  4. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    KC Mulville:

    Good.

    I’d want more preparation than actually stopping ISIS; I want us to be prepared to take them out. But any movement toward action, and against standing around is a good thing. At least we’re seeing a spark of life.

    How this develops will tell the tale.

     I agree.  We need to take them out completely.  The region will never be stable with their existence.

    • #4
  5. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Wonder what’s in it for Obama?

    Pressure from some major donor? Deflect attention from the revelation that at least 20 officials in his administration have also been destroying emails? The death of Major General Greene killed by a gunman wearing an Afghan Army uniform.  He doesn’t want his legacy sullied by doing absolutely nothing after leaving Iraq flat thereby virtually insuring this kind of thing would happen?

    • #5
  6. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    I’m glad, of course, but it’s difficult not to be cynical about whether he can do the job, and I’m preparing myself to having to listen to him take credit for anything remotely good that comes out of this.  Shame on the entire Democrat party for not screaming about his pusillanimity, though I imagine even some Democrats have been worried.

    • #6
  7. user_473455 Inactive
    user_473455
    @BenjaminGlaser

    Wag the Dog

    • #7
  8. user_259843 Inactive
    user_259843
    @JefferyShepherd

    Never should have had to happen if we had proper number of forces in place and gotten the status of forces done properly.  But, the smartest mf on the planet knows best.  Now he spins it as if we’re coming to help from out of the blue and not that when we left we helped creat the vacuum that allowed the chaos to fester and grow.

    • #8
  9. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    I support the president’s decision to carry out airstrikes.

    • #9
  10. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    God I just wish for once he would stop his speeches half way in. He was doing so well and then he went on to explain how we really wont work to solve this problem. I wonder though if this small and ancient religion was not threatened with annihilation would he even have bothered? Because the pogrom against Christians and Shiites did not seem to elicit much in the way of a response.  

    I will say this Ibril is the Kurdish capital. The Kurds have been our best friends there in Iraq and for us to let them stand alone against the fire breathing hydra that is ISIL should bring us shame for a thousand years.

    • #10
  11. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    I wish I could feel hopeful about this … I’m just waiting for this to turn into a disaster, not because our military doesn’t have the capability to do something useful, but because of the administration.  Sigh.

    • #11
  12. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Jeff Shepherd:

    Never should have had to happen if we had proper number of forces in place and gotten the status of forces done properly. But, the smartest mf on the planet knows best. Now he spins it as if we’re coming to help from out of the blue and not that when we left we helped creat the vacuum that allowed the chaos to fester and grow.

     Remember the days when violence in Iraq was blamed on the U.S. presence there? I don’t know which is sadder, the details of the horrors in Iraq or the fact that it was so predictable.

    • #12
  13. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    billy:

    Jeff Shepherd:

    Never should have had to happen if we had proper number of forces in place and gotten the status of forces done properly. But, the smartest mf on the planet knows best. Now he spins it as if we’re coming to help from out of the blue and not that when we left we helped creat the vacuum that allowed the chaos to fester and grow.

    Remember the days when violence in Iraq was blamed on the U.S. presence there? I don’t know which is sadder, the details of the horrors in Iraq or the fact that it was so predictable.

     Not that the Bush administration won’t continue to be blamed.

    • #13
  14. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Doesn’t the President at least have to pretend to consult congress before starting a war?

    • #14
  15. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    1. I support the President’s actions. 

    2. Stopping the advance is one thing; rolling them back is another. “Targeted strikes to protect our personnel” doesn’t get ISIS’s hands off the dam or the oil wells. I have the feeling we just recognized all their territorial gains as a fait accompli. 

    • #15
  16. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    From an interview with General Barry McCaffrey:

    “These are political gestures using military power,” he explained. “When we dropped three aircraft loads of water and food to 50,000 people in the mountains, now we’re striking ISIS artillery units, it looks to me as if a lot of this is internal U.S. politics to show we’re doing something.”

    Could it be that Obama’s record of complete inaction has made us welcome any action at all, even if it’s woefully inadequate? I confess, for me, I’ll take anything at this point. 

    A few weeks back, we had a discussion about the tactic of bringing terrorist suspects to New York for trial, and letting the legal system handle terrorism. Given the current situation, I thought then (and still do) that we’re simply going to have to fight these guys sooner or later. So now, my attitude is: why wait? It’s a legitimate American interest, and it saves lives – the perfect dovetail of conservative & liberal motives. Besides, it’s about time we gave these creeps a dose of reality.

    • #16
  17. Last Outpost on the Right Inactive
    Last Outpost on the Right
    @LastOutpostontheRight

    Albert Arthur:

    I support the president’s decision to carry out airstrikes.

    As do I.
    I just wish he didn’t inform the enemy of our plans… again.

    • #17
  18. user_259843 Inactive
    user_259843
    @JefferyShepherd

    Sandy:

    billy:

    Jeff Shepherd:

    Never should have had to happen if we had proper number of forces in place and gotten the status of forces done properly. But, the smartest mf on the planet knows best. Now he spins it as if we’re coming to help from out of the blue and not that when we left we helped creat the vacuum that allowed the chaos to fester and grow.

    Remember the days when violence in Iraq was blamed on the U.S. presence there? I don’t know which is sadder, the details of the horrors in Iraq or the fact that it was so predictable.

    Not that the Bush administration won’t continue to be blamed.

    BO’s moronic press secretary blamed the iraqi government.  While there is blame to go around we did break the place.  And, while putting it back together, I think we are obligated to stick around and make sure it took.  Clearly that’s not what we did.  And, predictably, here we are.

    • #18
  19. Last Outpost on the Right Inactive
    Last Outpost on the Right
    @LastOutpostontheRight

    Jeff Shepherd:

    BO’s moronic press secretary blamed the iraqi government. While there is blame to go around we did break the place. And, while putting it back together, I think we are obligated to stick around and make sure it took. Clearly that’s not what we did. And, predictably, here we are.

    How long were we in Germany?
    How long were we in Japan?
    Oh that’s right! We’re still there! And clearly not only was our extended presence required, but (in my opinion) it laid the foundation for our enduring alliances with those nations. As you implied, Jeff, the contrasts could scarcely be more stark.
    And by the way the use of the word moronic in this context is redundant.

    • #19
  20. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    KC Mulville:

    From an interview with General Barry McCaffrey:

    “These are political gestures using military power,” he explained. “When we dropped three aircraft loads of water and food to 50,000 people in the mountains, now we’re striking ISIS artillery units, it looks to me as if a lot of this is internal U.S. politics to show we’re doing something.”

    Could it be that Obama’s record of complete inaction has made us welcome any action at all, even if it’s woefully inadequate? 

    I am afraid that is precisely the case.  

    Even when Kerry was discussing an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” with regards to Syria I cannot imagine anyone contemplated something as minuscule as we are currently seeing in Iraq. 

    Unless these token efforts are simply part of some sly battlespace prep prior to an actual sustained air campaign they amount to nothing more than a sick joke, false hope given to desperate people. 

    • #20
  21. Retail Lawyer Inactive
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Jamie Lockett:

    Doesn’t the President at least have to pretend to consult congress before starting a war?

     No, not since we attacked Libya.  Obama claimed “war” required “boots on the ground”, and bombs and missiles were below the threshold of “war”.  Who knew?

    • #21
  22. user_302979 Inactive
    user_302979
    @Ron1954

    The POTUS decides who is moderate and suitable to be in government, unfortunately that’s the problem.

    • #22
  23. 3rd angle projection Member
    3rd angle projection
    @

    KC Mulville:

    Good.

    I’d want more preparation than actually stopping ISIS; I want us to be prepared to take them out. But any movement toward action, and against standing around is a good thing. At least we’re seeing a spark of life.

    How this develops will tell the tale.

    ISIS? The One said ISIL. I’m sure he screwed that up as well.

    Obama knows not how to do this. He’s a community organizer. He is not smart, he’s an ideologue. There is no reason to be optimistic. We should have never left without a reasonable force on the ground. This will end badly. We have 2.5 years left of a pen and a phone. Ugh. This will get worse before it  gets better.

    • #23

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