Charles Krauthammer: Stopping the worst people on earth
They did. He responded.
The last of these is the most important. Obama had said that there is no American military solution to the conflict. This may be true, but there is a local military solution. And that solution requires U.S. air support.
Obama was slow to bring American power to bear. And slower still to arm the Kurds. But he was right to wait until Baghdad had gotten rid of Nouri al-Maliki, lest the U.S. serve as a Shiite air force. We don't know how successful Haider al-Abadi will be in forming a more national government. But Obama has for now wisely taken advantage of the Abadi opening.
According to Obama's own assertions, however, the recent Kurdish/Iraqi advances have averted the threat of genocide. As for the threat to U.S. personnel at the consulate in Irbil, it too is reduced.
Besides, what does the recapture of the Mosul dam, the most significant gain thus far, have to do with either rationale?
For now, Obama can get away with stretching the existing rationale, but not if he is to conduct a sustained campaign.
But for a serious rollback campaign, Obama will need public support. He has to explain the stakes and the larger strategy. His weak and passive rhetorical reaction to the beheading of American journalist James Foley was a discouragingly missed opportunity.
READER COMMENTS: 28
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- Constitutional thought: Enter our student essay contest - 0
READER COMMENTS: 3
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