Friday, August 08, 2014

Back to Iraq

Now that President Obama has stated that we have a responsibility to help one group in Iraq suffering and dying at the hands of Islamic State jihadis, it will be tough to limit the burden of Responsibility to Protect.

Our military says it has enough intel to target IS forces. So let's kill a lot of jihadis.

And as always, I hope we have ground forces capable of exploiting what we achieve from the air.

UPDATE: Reports that US forces conducted air strikes. Last night the rumors turned out to be Turkish aircraft striking.

The president says US ground forces won't enter Iraq. I hope he means US conventional combat units don't enter Iraq. We need people on the ground to support the Iraqi (including Kurdish) forces and enable them to fight.

Remember, staying out of a Middle East fight doesn't allow the locals to sort out their problems. Exhibit A is Syria.

Using air power to carry out the objective without making sure ground forces (whether foreign or local) can restore order and build a state doesn't work either. Exhibit B is Libya.

Letting jihadis survive in a territory is a recipe for death. Exhibit C is Afghanistan before 9/11 and Gaza and southern Lebanon (controlled by Hezbollah) are Exhibits D and E.

Only in Iraq where we fought and stayed until enemies were defeated and local forces built up did we have a success. The vice president boasted of the success and the president relied on that victory to justify leaving entirely. Without us there to stabilize Iraqi politics and maintain the Iraqi military in decent shape, we have our current situation.

So let's see how it goes. I'm grateful the president is willing to do something. I hope the something is effective rather than just checking a box so he can say he tried.

UPDATE: Ah, F-18s dropped bombs on an IS artillery piece that was shelling Kurdish forces at Erbil.

Interesting that the Navy launched the strike.--from the Persian (Arabian) Gulf I assume--rather than our Air Force from Turkey given that Turkey struck too.

I'm not going to note each stirke. But the first is important.