In sending warplanes back into the skies over Iraq, President Obama on Thursday night found himself exactly where he did not want to be. Hoping to end the war in Iraq, Mr. Obama became the fourth president in a row to order military action in that graveyard of American ambition. The mandate he gave to the armed forces was more limited than that of his predecessors, focused mainly on dropping food and water. But he also authorized targeted airstrikes “if necessary” against Islamic radicals advancing on the Kurdish capital of Erbil and others threatening to wipe out thousands of non-Muslims stranded on a remote mountaintop.
It didn't take long for those "if necessary" airstrikes to become necessary:
Hours after President Obama authorized the use of force in Iraq, U.S. aircraft conducted a strike against Sunni militants near Irbil on Friday. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Twitter that the U.S. hit artillery being used against Kurdish forces near U.S. personnel.
This time it's not about imaginary weapons of mass destruction. It's about ISIS vs. Kurds and Yazidis and Iraqi Christians. Confused? Sullivan has a good rundown/background/reaction post here.
Beginning to doubt the wisdom of Obama's decision to invade Iraq in the first place.
— NickBaumann (@NickBaumann) August 8, 2014
And Charles Pierce asks:
With which long-term moral debt of the extended Bush family would you like to discuss first? The one that Junior locked the country into by kicking over the hornet's nest in order to drain the swamp, or the one Poppy ran up by selling the Kurds down the river in 1991? I know, I know, there's a lot more that went into the president's decision to drop humanitarian aid to the Yazidi people stuck on a mountain in northern Iraq, and into the president's decision to drop a couple of 500-pound bombs on the genocidal barbarians who have surrounded the mountain with the intent of killing everybody on it. But if there's one family that best symbolizes the historic price paid by the people of Iraq by a century of Western bungling in that part of the world, it's the Habsburgs Of Kennebunkport. Or, I guess, you can blame the Treaty Of Versailles and/or the League of Nations for helping to create the country of Iraq in the first place and guaranteeing that, one day, its basic ethnic instability would erupt into savagery. See also: Yugoslavia. The Great Game never was so Great for the people whom expiring empires used as chips. I would be surprised if, in five years, there's even a country called Iraq any more.