August 7th, 2014

Obama orders airstrikes—perhaps

[NOTE: I originally put this post up a little while ago as an update to the post right below it. But just in case many of you fail to notice it, I thought I'd put it up here as a separate post as well.]

President Obama has announced limited, targeted airstrikes for humanitarian reasons, with caveats:

Obama said he has given the green-light to the Pentagon for the limited, targeted bombing if top military officials monitoring the shifting situation on the ground believe ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region or if militants threaten U.S. servicemen and personnel in Irbil, according to a U.S. official.

Still, the president’s authorization of any airstrikes in Iraq is abrupt departure from his goal of preventing further U.S. military intervention in Iraq after ending the war there and removing all troops at the end of 2011. Obama was swept into office in 2008 in part because of his promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and limit U.S. military intervention abroad.

Is there any doubt that “ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region”? Of course not. So that statement may have been put in there just to give Obama some wriggle room and ability to stall.

Obama included an assurance (to the left, no doubt) that we will not be drawn into another war in Iraq nor will we put any troops on the ground. ISIS will be very happy to hear those assertions. Even if Obama intends to keep such a promise, revealing it to the enemy at this point is tremendously counterproductive (just like the announcements at his presidency’s outset that he would be withdrawing from Iraq). But Obama is more intent on soothing the fears of his political base.

So it seems something may be done, but we don’t know when, what or how much. I’m glad some action is at least being strongly contemplated, but six months earlier would have been far far better. Even two weeks earlier would have been a great deal better. Obama has waited till the eleventh hour, and it’s not even clear at this point whether the bombing will actually take place. An ounce of prevention would have been worth several tons of cure, and many innocent lives would probably have been saved.

25 Responses to “Obama orders airstrikes—perhaps”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    Saving lives is not part of the Democrat plantation life or goal.

  2. blert Says:

    This posturing has been cleared by General Axelrod.

    What’s shocking even hardened US Army officers (Baghdad) is how psychologically dominating ISIS has become.

    You’d have to go back to Barbarossa (1941) to find more essential ground being given up due to psychological issues/ a wholesale collapse in morale.

    To witness the Kurds giving up critical ground so close to GHQ is shocking.

    Lest any here forget: ISIS has captured enough heavy artillery to make it the dominant bombardment force in the neighborhood. Barry’s latest posture is almost certainly designed to (psychologically) restrain ISIS from lining up M198 Howitzers — axle to axle — and going brutal on the Kurds.

    [ This gambit is shades of Bunker Hill/ Breed's Hill (the Boston battles of the American Revolution.) The Royal Navy fled without a shot being fired once American canons were spotted o'erlooking the harbor.]

    It must come to pass that the USAF and USN has to take out these lost howitzers. Some attempt should’ve been made to destroy their ammo, too.

    That the IA bugged out without even destroying their munitions is a military scandal of the first water. It’s name is treason.

    Every flag officer involved should be swinging for this fiasco.

    %%%

    As for al-Maliki: he has to go. Every day this Klink squats in Baghdad the situation bleeds.

    Send in Captain Willard. (!)

    It must be obvious by now: the US Army can’t advocate supporting al-Maliki. That’s where the resistance is coming from.

    The generals figure that al-Maliki is either a Klink or a tool of Tehran, AND a fool.

    He is continuing to run off any Kurdish or Sunni support… even though both factions can’t stand ISIS.

    &&&

    And still the MSM buries the lede: ISIS is hugely the result of 0bama’s martial fantasies. Without the Jordanian training mission, ISIS would never have ‘launched’ to become the despotism it now is.

    This fiasco is the ultimate in blow-back — and is linked to the savvy minds that gave the world Benghazigate and Gun Walking.

    You’d have to reach deep into fiction, Zardoz, to find a more profligate distributor of small arms.

    Every time Barry opens his yap, more guns and bullets dribble out.

    The mouth is a positive menace.

  3. J.J. Says:

    Desert warfare is heavily influenced by air superiority. No place to hide for the ground pounders. It’s one reason why we were able to force a cease fire on North Korea back in the day. We gained air superiority, and because North Korea has little in the way of cover from air power, even with the old time “dumb bombs” we were able to harass and kill enough Chinese that they knew it was a losing proposition.

    Obama could have degraded ISIS to a mere shadow of themselves with air strikes back in January, February. That he failed to do so is just another of those questions – fool, knave, or wuss?
    Now they’ve grown in numbers, money , and armaments. Now he decides to send a bit of humanitarian help along with attack aircraft that won’t do anything unless the transports come under fire. That’s tying both hands behind your back and waiting to be punched first. Heckuva job Barack!

  4. Eric Says:

    blert: “And still the MSM buries the lede: ISIS is hugely the result of 0bama’s martial fantasies. Without the Jordanian training mission, ISIS would never have ‘launched’ to become the despotism it now is.”

    Good point. Obama’s foreign policy has been mischaracterized as “disengagement”. That’s incorrect because Obama has engaged plenty, but the ways he’s engaged have been ineffective for achieving state goals and outright harmful in effect.

  5. Beverly Says:

    All you all: this was posted at Ace’s place today. We have a new “JournoList” — called GameChanger Salon.

    Over 1,000 red and pinko “journalists” who get their propaganda coordinated and their lies in synch.

    http://eagnews.org/1000-member-secretive-progressive-journalist-group-uncovered/

    Rust never sleeps.

  6. Eric Says:

    JJ,

    The false narrative about OIF was the cornerstone for the Democrats seizing political advantage over the Republicans and winning Obama’s presidency.

    It’s the linchpin, and the Dems-Left tag team will fight tooth and nail to protect their narrative on Bush and Iraq. Because they depend on it. They sold their American souls for it.

    The GOP and Right should have focused on setting the record on OIF.

    The Democrats will sacrifice real lives, peoples, and countries to a horror like ISIS because they made a deal with the Devil on the Iraq issue for partisan political power, and the Devil is taking his due.

  7. Eric Says:

    Correction: That’s incorrect because Obama has engaged plenty, but the ways he’s engaged have been ineffective for achieving state stated goals and outright harmful in effect.

  8. Eric Says:

    Correction: The GOP and Right should have focused on setting the record straight on OIF.

  9. kolnai Says:

    Did you see this miracle of inanity, sanctimony, and incoherence?

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/08/06/why_i_hope_to_vote_republican_someday_hillary_clinton

    This guy doesn’t even fall into the “purgatory” territory that the woman neo wrote about before did. How is it possible for an attempted display of magnanimity and prudence to come as being the precise opposite? Study this piece and learn.

    Read the comments too. It’s stuff like this that has me thinking the downfall is inevitable. The cultural siege of fortress Conservative has reached the point where we couldn’t buy a crumb of benefit-of-the-doubt with the entire stock of ingenuity we possess.

  10. Tonawanda Says:

    And once again we see BO serve Iran’s interests, the single consistent element of his foreign policy.

    When all else seems wildly contradictory (means, methods, goals) and is seemingly inept, there is always the golden nugget of Iran.

    It’s almost as if he had some close personal connection to an agent with ties to Iran.

  11. Eric Says:

    Tonawanda,

    Do you think Obama’s foreign policy has practically aided Sunni Islamists more or Iran more?

  12. Eric Says:

    Obama did extend the air campaign in Libya beyond its stated policy mandate of R2P in order to effect regime change. I wonder if he’ll hit ISIS like that, and I wonder what kind of anti-aircraft capability ISIS has.

  13. Eric Says:

    blert: “What’s shocking even hardened US Army officers (Baghdad) is how psychologically dominating ISIS has become.”

    This may be the best explanation for why Iraq needs outside help to fight ISIS. They know ISIS goes full spectrum, so every Iraqi soldier and policeman knows it’s not just his life and not just an upfront fight, but family in danger on the ground.

    US soldiers at least can be confident their families are safe at home.

    Remember, AQI wasn’t that long ago and the Iraqis know that beating them required more than the Iraqis could muster. Anbar Awakening required COIN “Surge”. ISIS, developed in the Syrian war, is supposed to be worse than AQI. If the Iraqis have an ounce of doubt in the Iraq government’s ability to keep their families safe, it’s no wonder their fighting will dissolved under whatever very credible psychological threat ISIS used.

  14. Dave Says:

    The president does not have legal power to order military action absent congressional authorization, except in the very limited circumstances specified in the war powers act. Such circumstances were not present when our military obeyed his unlawful order to attack Libya and are not present now in Iraq.

    That the U.S. is no longer a nation of law has been woefully apparent ever since congress failed to assert its legitimate authority and capitulated to the president’s despotic power grab over Libya.

    May God have mercy on our souls.

  15. Artfldgr Says:

    ok
    here is how this is going to play out..

    the socialists never help anyone who is clean. this came up before in anothenr thread. ie. if your honest and have no skeletons your too damn dangerous. ergo, ipso, facto, you HAVE to have dirt

    Obama has locked up his records..
    he is being FORCED by circumsgances academia has the convenience to pretend in ignorance dont matter.

    ie. you can avoid conflict by just not having it

    however. in order to do that, you have to accept the outcome of such, and academics dont get that far.

    ie. they claim reality does not work that way and so they claim you dont know how it will turn out, and yada yada (i know, i have had lots of discussions with them in which grade school math was used to show them how inane they were being on a belief vs knowlege level)

    i said long long ago, they are going to turn up the burners to make it too hot in the kitchen

    Barry Soetoro has been set up

    his world is about to come crashing down, and the other side hopes that it will take the people with it.

    why am i calling him barry..

    easy… thats his name on his real birth certificate
    and not only that, thats the name he used when he got a FULBRIGHT scholarship as a foregn student

    dont you think that russia has this nformation?
    dont you think that they helped cover it, and so on so that he could be their man, and that he was proud to be a traitor for them?

    but note.. snowdens record in russia will have a mark on it that points ot he is a traitor.

    any person fighting for the sociliast revoltuoin FROM russia is a patriot, anyone else from anywhere else is a traitor… the russians dont accept traitors other than for their usefulness, and obamas usefulness has run out..

    so.. in response to his sanctions, and other things, they have turned up the heat, and are now causing the records that were under wraps to be released. like his occidental college transcripts.

    yes. barry soetoro did not have his name legally changed to barak obama… he lied to the california bar, he lied for presidency… all the laws he signed and did are null and void… and, since there is no birth cert with barak obama on it, the one we looked at is a fake… as there IS such for Barry soetoro

    the point is that it behooves the russians a lot more to rip the carpet out from under him and turn up the fires more than it does to have a failed lame duck president who is limited.

    the idea here is that as this world ward conflict heats up… we would have to deal at a critical time with the invalid presidency, the laws, the treatires, and so on.

    welcome to the GREAT GAME

  16. Lizzy Says:

    I suspect this will be a few strikes, a brief press appearance by Obama to announce his success, and then he and the press will move on to the next crisis. Well, after his posh vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

    Remember the whole “bring back our girls” crisis that lasted maybe 1-2 weeks, with Barack claiming he thought of those girls every morning? Yeah, he sent a couple hundred advisors and then….nothing. No follow-up. Never even had to acknowledge that this wasn’t some isolated instance of the “war on women” but a years-long slaughter of Christians by the Muslim Boko Haram. But Obama got to pretend to “do something”, get credit in the press, and then move on.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    kolnai:

    I did read that article yesterday. I was thinking of writing about it, but it was so oddly-reasoned (or not reasoned at all) that I decided it was hardly worth writing about at any length. I can’t imagine that the author’s approach would be shared by anyone else.

    It was just bizarre.

  18. Tonawanda Says:

    Eric @ 10:15: I really don’t know if BO has aided the Sunnis more than Iran, and I am not sure that is possible to calculate. It just strikes me that amid the chaos of his “foreign policy” Iran always benefits.

    And Artful @ 11:33: this is one of your more fascinating posts. There may be a lot to it, especially given BO’s background as a red diaper baby. I just wish I did not have to leave for a social engagement so I could say more about your post.

    Among other things, though, I do not believe that random citizens (“students”) of Russia could be flashing images on the American embassy of BO performing fellatio without Putin being totally aware.

    It seems to go beyond mere ridicule and taunting.

    The Epstein interview really is extraordinarily scary because of the potential implications. Neo as usual early called some of the probable facts, but there is a lot more which is deeply disturbing, not least because we cannot know what is what, other than deeply disturbing necessarily.

  19. kolnai Says:

    neo -

    I only brought it up here because the guy apparently writes on a foreign policy website.

    Odd reasoning indeed. The guy basically said he think it’s great to have a two party system without any one entrenched in power, and so he hopes to vote Republican after Hillary’s two inevitable terms – if only they become more like Democrats. That’s the line in the sand!

    People just baffle me sometimes.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    kolnai:

    People are often baffling, but that guy is especially so.

  21. Artfldgr Says:

    eah, he sent a couple hundred advisors and then….nothing. No follow-up. Never even had to acknowledge that this wasn’t some isolated instance of the “war on women” but a years-long slaughter of Christians by the Muslim Boko Haram.

    problem for him was that there was no girls to rescue
    they strapped explosives to them and blew them up in different actions

  22. Eric Says:

    kolnai,

    Your description sounds to me like the author wants a competitive check on inefficiency and corruption but not on policy.

  23. Eric Says:

    Dave: “The president does not have legal power to order military action absent congressional authorization, except in the very limited circumstances specified in the war powers act.”

    FYI, from http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-fall-of-mosul.html :

    The issue of the President’s legal authority to deploy the military to Iraq under current circumstances, absent a new statutory authority, presents interesting legal questions.

    President Clinton deployed the military to Iraq throughout his presidency with the statutory authority of P.L. 102-1 (1991). President Bush deployed the military to Iraq with the redundant statutory authority of P.L. 102-1 and P.L. 107-243 (2002). Because a “specific statutory authorization” is equivalent to a declaration of war under the War Powers Act, within the constitutional scope, there is no domestic legal controversy over the U.S. military mission with Iraq from 1991 to 2011.

    The failure to negotiate a new Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq that was effective past 2011 was cited as the main reason for the withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Iraq. However, did the departure of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 coincide with an actual severing of all the relevant, or at least plausible, statutory authorities for deploying the military to Iraq? Or was some legal authority retained, perhaps applicable in the event of an emergency such as the current crisis, despite the physical removal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011? I don’t know; I hadn’t thought about the post-OIF legality of deploying the military to Iraq without a new statutory authorization.

    Note that the United States has a Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq. See the State Department press release, U.S. Iraqi embassy statement, and a PDF of the agreement. Also see this legal summary.

    The first question is whether P.L. 102-1 and/or P.L. 107-243 are still live. Since they authorized the President to enforce the UNSC resolutions relevant to Iraq, a related question is whether the UNSC resolutions related to the security of Iraq are still live. For example, UNSC Res 1511 (2003) “authorizes a multinational force under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq”. Update: The answer is that the 17NOV08 agreement between the US and Iraq terminated the authority of the older UNSC resolutions. However, I haven’t come across that P.L. 102-1 and P.L. 107-243 have been repealed, so if the UNSC passes a new resolution for Iraq, the President should be authorized to enforce it.

    The second question is whether P.L. 107-40 (2001) or other counter-terror law cover the situation in Iraq “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism” (P.L. 107-40), especially if a plausible ‘organizational’ link can be drawn between ISIS and al Qaeda. Furthermore, the standing policy since the Clinton administration has been “the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”. The unsettled question, which was debated for OIF, has been the specific character of a threat that opens such authority. If President Obama can make the case that ISIS is a threat to the U.S., this seems the most likely route for Obama to take military action without seeking additional authority from Congress.

    The third question is whether the U.S. has an operative Congressionally approved multi- or bilateral security agreement (treaty) that covers Iraq. For example, President Clinton cited to the NATO treaty when he skipped Congress for the Balkans intervention. As far as I know, we only have the Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, which only states a commitment to “close cooperation” on defense and security issues. That does not by itself rise to a treaty.

    The fourth question is whether there is a statutory authority linked with a security agreement under international law. For example, President Obama claimed the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ justification was authorized by the general U.S. agreement with the United Nations covenant when he skipped Congress for the Libya intervention. I thought R2P was a weak stand-alone legal basis in domestic and international law to deploy the military even before Obama severely stretched an already controversial novel application of R2P in the Libyan regime change. Nonetheless, it is a precedent.

    The question of statutory authorization may be rendered moot if a U.S. entity is attacked in Iraq. According to 50 USC 1541 (1973) of the War Powers Act, other than by Congressional declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, the military can also be deployed by the President “pursuant to … a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” When I served with 2ID in Korea, we sometimes would joke that our function was less to stop (really, delay) a north Korean attack than to serve as a tripwire for the insertion of U.S.-led UN forces.

  24. blert Says:

    Eric, the light worker doesn’t need no stinkin’ authority…

    He has a pen and a phone!

    He simply does not have a self-limiting personality.

    Quite the opposite is the case.

    He has what psychologists term “boundary issues.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_boundaries

    As a first person witness, I can assure you his grandmother had SERIOUS boundary issues.

    Consequently her daughter acted out by sleeping with a Black lover —

    And their offspring (Barry) remains in perpetual rebellion against grandmother’s nostrums. This involves some ‘splitting’ — as Barry is on board with grandma’s hatred of White society — while totally “against the Woman” ( as a power figure ) in his interpersonal dealings.

    Thus, Barry positions many women to high political positions — and then runs roughshod over their opinions and advice.

    To a woman, they can’t make any sense of him.

    [Think of the push-pull dynamics. They end up being pulled even closer into his (emotional) orbit. Push-pull is chick nip.

    Barry carries push-pull into all of his dealings. He can't stop it. The results are disastrous in foreign affairs. Men (Alphas) LOATHE push-pull when it's applied to them. At an instinctive level, they realize that they're being treated like a woman -- and Barry thinks that (emotes) he's seducing them! ]

    At the core of his psyche, Barry is totally unsuited for the role he has attained. So, it’s not for nothing that he role-plays as an introverted president.

    He can’t get out of his crippled teen programming.

  25. blert Says:

    BTW, for those who wonder why women are uniquely affected by push-pull dynamics:

    They are the dynamics of a toddler.

    Women/ mothers are hard-wired to love push-pull antics as they must be genetically compelled to love their offspring even as the toddler (and adolescent) repeatedly swings to and fro: push and pulling against Mom’s heart strings.

    Men/ fathers are not genetically compelled to love rebellious children, far from it.

    So keep that in your hat when looking at fatherless Barry. To the extent he had any role model it was Frank M Davis — which must have consisted of arrogant lectures as to how he (FMD) had the world all figured out — and he was going to send Barry on a mission — with anti-Whitey racism as his boon.

    That ‘race card’ has trumped every hand he’s ever faced — until the Presidency.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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