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What’s Obama’s Strategy As U.S. Inches Into Another Iraq War?


Obama with troops

In a disquieting repeat of how the United States inched its way into Vietnam, President Obama has quietly sent 130 more “advisers” to Iraq and is weighing how the U.S. might conduct an operation to save the thousands of Yazidi refugees stranded by the rapid advance of the savage Islamist fighters of ISIS or “the Islamic State.”
 
According to reporting by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials said the rescue mission is one of many options the U.S. military is weighing after dropping food and water to the desperate refugees over the past six days.
 
"People are looking at ways to do something more than just drop water and supplies," one senior U.S. official told the WSJ. "You can only do that for so long."
 
Since last Thursday, U.S. military planes have been dropping tons of food and water for thousands of Yazidis forced into the mountains by militants from the Islamic State. The U.K. has recently joined in the airdrops, and Australia is expected to join in the effort in the coming days.
 
At the same time, U.S. jet fighters and armed drones have repeatedly hit Islamic State forces near Mount Sinjar and halted efforts by the fighters to advance on the stranded Yazidi refugees. The latest strike came Tuesday when an American drone destroyed an Islamic State mortar position firing on Iraqi forces protecting Yazidis trying to get to safety.
 
But how effective are the current humanitarian aid efforts?
 
Jonathan Krohn of the U.K. Telegraph, perhaps the only Western journalists in the area, reported that as dawn “reveals thousands of impoverished, exhausted and hungry people sleeping rough on the hard ground, speckled with the jagged rocks that smashed so many of the water bottles dropped from above. A Red Crescent official estimated 40 to 50 per cent of the supplies thrown out of US Air Force supply planes were destroyed on impact.”
 
So what is Obama’s strategy for the U.S. involvement in Iraq?
 
At this point no one really knows, but signs point to a two pronged approach that involves much more than air drops of humanitarian relief.
 
The first prong is to oust Iraq’s duly elected, but ineffective prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and replace him with Haider al-Abadi, a British-educated engineer and long-time member of the Dawa political party. Maliki is not going quietly and is trying to hang on even as his army throws down its weapons and his country descends into chaos.
 
The second prong is to support the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq with direct military aid.
 
The KRG is now a crucial friend of the United States in an unstable region with few other attractive partners says Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and a correspondent for Al-Monitor.com, a website specializing in the Middle East, in a column for Voice of America.

Slavin quotes Cale Salih, daughter of former KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih, as observing that “Obama needs the Kurds, and he knows it. They are largely secular and pro-Western, but also maintain dynamic ties to both Iran and Turkey. They offer a potential base from which the U.S. can stage counterterrorism operations against ISIS.”
 
Slavin says “there are many reasons why helping the Kurds makes more sense that intervening in Syria did then or does now. For starters, the international community is united against ISIS in Iraq but not in Syria, where the main alternative to the jihadis is Assad’s brutal regime. The decades-old Peshmerga is also a far more cohesive and capable fighting force than the Free Syria Army was or is ever likely to be. Finally, U.S. intervention in northern Iraq has the blessing of the Iraqi government in Baghdad as well as considerable domestic U.S. support.”
 
In Barbara Slavin’s view “The Kurds deserve more U.S. help and they should get it as soon as possible.” We are not sure that we see “considerable domestic U.S. support” for Obama’s further action in Iraq. What support we do see comes from the usual neo-con suspects, such as Senators john McCain and Lindsey Graham, and that has yet to be tested in the court of public opinion through a proper debate and action by Congress.

Click the link to read Barbara Slavin's column "Above All Else, Save the Kurds."
 
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Iraq War

We shouldn't again debase ourselves by beginning a fight we do not intend to finish. Better to admit to the world that we have no backbone and they are on their own than to betray them once again. Our resolve is nonexistent. We send our soldiers to bleed and die and just as it looks as if we have not done so in vain, we pack up and go home, our losses (that is, the lives of our patriots) all for naught. Best we never offer to help, when we know in our hearts we will never see it through!

The only way to successfully fight a war

The only way to successfully fight a war is like we did during WWII. Take Germany and Japan for instance. We totally devastated them, occupied them for decades, and controlled the setting up of their governments. Now they are our biggest allies. There is no sense in going to war with a country without that goal in mind.