In a hastily arranged address to the American people on Thursday night August 7th, President Barrack Obama briefed the Nation on his short and intermediate term plan of action to address the ISIS crisis in Iraq.
Iraq already embedded in President Obama's legacy, has returned for a possible encore. Having extracted a war-weary nation from the middle of Iraq's civil war, a step that has significantly defined his presidency, the president does not want to make an ala Bush move and reignite a full scale U.S. military operation in Iraq. He made that quite clear near the end of his 8-minute speech. He also stressed, "There is no military solution to the continued unrest in Iraq".
Nonetheless, he authorized controlled scaled down air military assistance to the beleaguered Kurdish forces on the ground in Iraq. The US air operation began with airdrops of food and water for displaced Yazidis tyrannized in the Sinjar Mountains for five days in relentless heat and with no supplies. The Yazidis are a minority that follows a 4,000-year-old faith.
The battered Kurdish peshmerga, low on ammunition and weakening along a huge front, were beginning to retreat under interminable assaults by the jihads. The Jihads' have one agenda and are hell bent on killing anyone that is not aligned with that agenda. They want a world that is eradicated of anyone who does not share their warped beliefs. By killing Yazidis, Christians and members of other religious minorities; they believe that they are serving a noble and just cause.
The jihad's expunging of the Kurdish from the Christian heartland on Wednesday and Thursday sparked the exodus of tens of thousands of refugees into the mountains where they found themselves trapped by military activity between the mountain and the Kurdish area. Then in addition, the capture of Mosul dam, which according to a Kurdish official happened on Thursday, was a tremendous setback for the peshmerga. This gave the rebels control of resources and the ability to flood a wide swath of territory.
President Obama clearly noted the possibility of the jihads engaging in full-scale genocide as being one of the determining factors that pushed him to authorize air strikes on the heels of the humanitarian airdrops. He referenced the Yazidis as "devil-worshippers", capable of attempting the systematic destruction of the entire people.
When we face a situation like we do on that mountain, with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help -- in this case, a request from the Iraqi government -- and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye." - Barrack Obama
Most Americans are okay with the humanitarian aide part of the re involvement with Iraq. Moreover, to a certain extent the U.S. owes the Kurds "one".
Throughout America's past involvement in Iraq, the Kurds have been our loyal allies in Iraq. Right now, Kurds are in a death spiral attempting protecting their homeland, and defend Yazidis and Christians who cannot defend themselves. That is a bold mission to undertake and for an ally as powerful as the U.S. not to lend them assistance would be unspeakable-especially since it is the U.S. invasion of Iraq that has contributed so much to the current position the Kurds is in.
Still the military strikes are drawing scrutiny from analysts, military officials, pro and opponents of the Obama Administration.
Getting involved in Iraq before the end of his term is something President Obama would just as soon as avoid. That however will not be the case. The decision by the Obama Administration to get involved in the IS conflict is a hot button topic because by default Obama was tasked with cleaning up the Bush initiated military involvement in Iraq - which it did.
All the President's guidelines considered, a military strike is a military strike whether it comes from the ground or the air. The first strike is a commitment to follow through to achieve some objective. The air strikes on this current wave of terrorists marching through Northern Iraq serves as a reminder to the IS that the U.S. can even the odds for the Kurds.
The President will not commit to a timetable regarding the current military involvement in Iraq. He indicated a timetable hinges around the formation of an effective Iraqi government- something Iraq has not managed to do to this point.
"I don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks" - President Barrack Obama 8/9/14
That is true. The President acknowledging this problem will not be resolved in weeks does not reconcile with the scaled back approach he is advocating to deal with the situation. Impromptu air strikes are not going to defeat the IS. The opposition in Iraq has proven inadequate at even containing militant jhadists, let alone battling them to the point they're no longer a threat.
The President says resolve will come by way of an established solid respected Iraqi government. That will take time, while in the meantime the militants will remain a big problem. If ISIS succeeds in routing the Kurds and occupying more of Iraq there will be no end to killing locals that oppose the regime's agenda and beliefs. American military power will not make Iraq whole again.
If the recent military involvement morphs in length Iraq could bear a resemblance to Afghanistan in terms of being eradicated of rebel threats. Afghanistan has become the longest war because the aftermath demands watching terrorist's cells that tend to keep reemerging even as a formal government is formed. If this latest uprising in Iraq has taught us anything, it has taught us that withdrawal does not mean closure for militant groups determined to push their beliefs and agendas on others.