Patterico's Pontifications

8/7/2014

Iraq: Humanitarian Aid, And Then What?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s just a horrible situation:

The U.S. has started flying food and water in northern Iraq to civilians stranded there by the operations of the Islamic State, especially members of the Yazidi religious group who are trapped on a mountain after fleeing an Iraqi town called Sinjar and the surrounding area. Meanwhile, the New York Times, citing local Kurdish officials, reported that the U.S. is bombing Islamic State forces in the region, but the Pentagon has emphatically denied that. The Iraqi government has now said that its air force is doing the bombing, although the Iraqi government’s air power is significantly limited (it apparently took delivery of a certain number of Russian ground-attack fighters this year).

The White House is weighing out its military options:

The president is also considering using airstrikes to help break the siege by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has advanced into the Kurdish region of Iraq and seized the country’s largest dam Thursday.

About the possibility of military action, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters:

“The concern that the president has is ensuring that any sort of military action in support of the Iraqi government is coordinated with the kinds of reforms that are necessary to address this root problem that we see in Iraq.”

As a reminder, the president reassured us in 2011: “We’re leaving behind a stable and self-reliant Iraq.”

Now what?

–Dana

UPDATE: President Obama just authorized “targeted airstrikes” in northern Iraq. “Today America is coming to help.” Obama explained that strikes would be “launched against extremist convoys “should they move toward” the Kurdish capital of Irbil.

Obama addressed the public’s concerns about involvement in Iraq:

“I know many of you are concerned about any military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq… American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”

53 Responses to “Iraq: Humanitarian Aid, And Then What?”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  2. I knew Obiwan Kenobi, and you Mr. Obama, are no Obiwan!

    felipe (40f0f0)

  3. flying in food & water is incredibly inefficient…

    if only we had a ground presence there and could run convoys or use the rail system.

    /snark

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  4. Now what?

    Blame Bush, of course… then go golfing.
    BamBam needs to build up his strength so he can enjoy his vacation, after all.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  5. Send in the neo-con artists they started it let them finish it or them drop them into mosel!

    send in the neocons (74587d)

  6. Send in the neo-con artists they started it let them finish it or them drop them into mosel!
    send in the neocons (74587d) — 8/7/2014 @ 5:56 pm

    In which a fool demonstrates his crack-addled recollection does not even extend as far back as the Clinton administration…

    Steve57 (ba12a7)

  7. Not like this started during the Clinton administration, either. I don’t want be accused of sayint anything so startlingly stupid for purely partisan purposes.

    Steve57 (ba12a7)

  8. the root problem is islam

    joe (93323e)

  9. It’s just a horrible situation

    If Obunble had bothered to negotiate a SOFA, it might not be so horrible.

    We are the world’s worst @#!$ing allies.

    Steve57 (ba12a7)

  10. I anticipate a clever hashtag campaign headed by Jen Psalki any moment now.

    Steve57 (ba12a7)

  11. I updated the post with the president’s statement tonight.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  12. Wow, Obama really knows how to rattle a sword! I need an emoticon for barffing!

    felipe (40f0f0)

  13. “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”
    Too much transparency, Barry.

    navyvet (ec562e)

  14. Ok, I am no good at predictions but here I go:

    Isis begins to move toward the trapped Kurds.

    Obama expresses “deep concern”

    Isis surrounds the trapped Kurds.

    Obama issues a “stern warning” and hopes they will remember who they are dealing with.

    Isis has their way and the media ignore the whole thing by moving on to some “Republican outrage”

    felipe (40f0f0)

  15. felipe (40f0f0) — 8/7/2014 @ 5:03 pm

    I knew Obiwan Kenobi, and you Mr. Obama, are no Obiwan!

    I think Obama’s role model is President Dwight David Eisenhower.

    You know, ended the Korean War (by threatening to drop radioactive residue) did not get involved in Vietnam, decideed not to intervene in Hungary, maybe some other things.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  16. Sammy, when the Korean war ended, it sort of remained “ended”, at least to the degree that the NK communists are still to the north of Seoul and S. Korea.
    The war in Iraq, not so much luck.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  17. While a lot of that is pretty lame, I have to say that it’s better than Rand Paul.

    Ibidem (a598c4)

  18. It is best to let your enemies know that you will not escalate a conflict if they do.

    -Obama Proverb

    DejectedHead (936516)

  19. No, he’s like Warren G. Harding.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. DejectedHead, I like where you are coming from. MD, that was merciful of you. Navyvet, I agree. Too much transparency!

    felipe (40f0f0)

  21. 15. You know, ended the Korean War (by threatening to drop radioactive residue) did not get involved in Vietnam, decideed not to intervene in Hungary, maybe some other things.
    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7) — 8/7/2014 @ 7:57 pm

    Ever been to Camp Casey, Sammy? When exactly did it end?

    Steve57 (ba12a7)

  22. “I know many of you are concerned about any military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq… American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”

    No fighting, they’ll just die there.

    htom (412a17)

  23. Because the air war worked so well against insurgents everywhere we’re tried it.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  24. “everywhere we’re tried it”.

    you know I love you like a brother, Kevin, but that was a “Freudian”, ja?

    felipe (40f0f0)

  25. Because the “v” is nowhere near the “r”. By the way, place a space in the right place and you get.

    “Now here”.

    felipe (40f0f0)

  26. Hell, I figured Jug Ears at 1600 would just let the Kurds be massacred, but with his saying flat out that American Combat Troops will not be sent…

    Well, if I were an American Combat Troop, I’d start packing.

    C. S. P. Schofield (e8b801)

  27. You know, ended the Korean War (by threatening to drop radioactive residue) did not get involved in Vietnam, decideed not to intervene in Hungary, maybe some other things.

    Screwed Israel and the UK (twice, in Sinai and Iran).

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  28. No, he’s like Warren G. Harding.

    Harding was a good president. 0bama is no Harding.

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  29. Yazidi, eh? Someone tell Michelle that what they most need airlifted to them is lots of healthful salads.

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  30. You know, ended the Korean War (by threatening to drop radioactive residue) did not get involved in Vietnam, decideed not to intervene in Hungary, maybe some other things.

    I was thinking more like Clinton – You know, screwed up Somalia, botched the Iraq sanctions, decided not to intervene in Rwanda, maybe some other things.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  31. i wasn’t aware the Korean War had ended…

    last time i looked, it was just held up by a cease fire, and could go live at any time.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  32. I’m pretty sure Ogabe will ‘eff it up, by like inadvertently suppling material aid and comfort to his comrades in arms, the Salafists.

    gary gulrud (1e7047)

  33. Harding was a good president. 0bama is no Harding.
    Milhouse (9d71c3) — 8/7/2014 @ 10:44 pm

    By all accounts, his administration was one of the most incompetent and corrupt in the history of the Presidency. He ranks in the bottom five or ten of Presidents, depending whom you ask, but no higher. You like him because, at the time, he was one of the few supporters of a Jewish homeland and signed a joint resolution to that effect early in his term.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. if we sprinkle bombs on them it will help for sure but if we accidentally kill even one civilian then we’re no better than Israel and Jen Psaki will have to give us a tongue-lashing on the twatter

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  35. And I just realized the Yazidis are the remaining followers of the Peacock God. They are gerally considered to be devil worshippers, and not very nice, worse than the Iraqi Arabs in their cultural practices.

    nk (dbc370)

  36. *generally*

    nk (dbc370)

  37. Harding was a good president. 0bama is no Harding.
    Milhouse (9d71c3) — 8/7/2014 @ 10:44 pm

    By all accounts, his administration was one of the most incompetent and corrupt in the history of the Presidency.

    By whose accounts? Only “Progressive” ones, who resent that he halted Wilson’s horrible policies.

    He ranks in the bottom five or ten of Presidents, depending whom you ask, but no higher.

    Yeah, right. Among historians who are all of the Zinn School, the same ones who confidently placed W Bush near the bottom back around 2005. “Historians” of the Zinn school.

    You like him because, at the time, he was one of the few supporters of a Jewish homeland and signed a joint resolution to that effect early in his term.

    Nonsense. You have no basis for that assertion. You made it up out of your behind, for no other reason than that I’m Jewish. Which is one more piece of evidence (if any more were needed) for my long-standing assessment that you’re an antisemite.

    (As a point of fact, for those who, unlike you, are actually interested in fact, I had no idea that he had done this. I haven’t checked whether it’s true, but if it is it doesn’t surprise me, and just adds to my admiration for him, since it was obviously a just cause, wasn’t it? But since I didn’t know about it it couldn’t have played any part in my saying he was a good president.)

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  38. Harding inherited a recession, and fixed it by cutting taxes. Just like Kennedy and Reagan did after him. That alone makes him one of the better presidents the US has ever had.

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  39. Which is one more piece of evidence (if any more were needed) for my long-standing assessment that you’re an antisemite.

    I’m still fascinated (but in a way that’s similar to watching a pile-up on the freeway) that one of the major figureheads of liberalism, the Democrat Party and America during the Great Depression, Franklin D Roosevelt, was a run-of-the-mill anti-Semite, anti-Jew, garden-variety bigot. During the years before his presidency, the fact he initiated or supported quotas against Jews in schools, clubs and government and then had the disgusting gall to claim growing anti-Semitism during the era of Hitler’s Europe was partly the blame of Jews themselves is never cited by historians.

    He also said the offspring of Caucasian and Asian couples led to unfortunate type of humans and never publicly lauded, much less honored, Olympic winner Jesse Owens.

    I recall originally wondering whether FDR knew about the out-and-out Klanner-like racism and bigotry of his vice-president, Harry Truman, and assumed FDR would have been appalled if he knew about it. I now chortle at my naivete.

    Gotta love liberals, both in the political world and the many in the world of historians.

    Mark (1c4a55)

  40. Nice try, “victim”. This was your immediately preceding comment:

    You know, ended the Korean War (by threatening to drop radioactive residue) did not get involved in Vietnam, decideed not to intervene in Hungary, maybe some other things.

    Screwed Israel and the UK (twice, in Sinai and Iran).
    Milhouse (9d71c3) — 8/7/2014 @ 10:43 pm

    nk (dbc370)

  41. Yes, and what of it? Was it not true? And what’s it got to do with my assessment of Harding?

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  42. The fact is that Eisenhower screwed the UK in a major way. Beside what he actually did to them in Iran and in the Sinai, bringing down the Eden government alone did long-lasting damage to UK politics, leading to more unnecessary years of Labour misadministration, and a reluctance to assert UK power anywhere in the world without US permission.

    It’s also a fact that he screwed Israel so thoroughly that he still stands as the worst president for Israel ever, even worse than Johnson or 0bama. And of course his meddling eventually led to the Six Day War, which might not have happened had Israel kept the Sinai in ’56.

    None of this has anything at all to do with Harding, who was 32 years earlier.

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  43. Ok, so you’re an Anglophile as well as unabashedly pro-Israel. You dislike Eisenhower because you believe he screwed the UK and Israel; it’s a fair inference that you like Harding because he supported a Jewish homeland.

    nk (dbc370)

  44. We were comparing Harding to Obama. The Teapot Dome has become a byword for corruption alongside Tammany Hall. Like Obama, Harding had a very friendly press who covered for him and, like Obama, very corrupt appointees in his cabinet (and the press cut him slack and blamed them). Also, his sudden death was suspected to be poisoning by his wife ;) — he had a mistress that he did not go into much effort to hide.

    nk (dbc370)

  45. 16. MD in Philly (f9371b) — 8/7/2014 @ 8:08 pm

    16.Sammy, when the Korean war ended, it sort of remained “ended”, at least to the degree that the NK communists are still to the north of Seoul and S. Korea.
    The war in Iraq, not so much luck.

    Barack Obama is no Dwight David Eisenhower.

    When the Korean War ended (most of it) U.S troops remained.

    Eisenhower understood something about deterrence and military reality. He didn’t demand somew countries do things that they couldn’t do, or had them try to do things on their own, however unlikely it was to succeed, and without weapons. (Obama was refusing to arm the Kurds separatrely and was waiting – still is – for a new government to be fomed in Baghdad.)

    He also didn’t hesitate to intervene in the make-up of other governments in sensitive places.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  46. nk (dbc370) — 8/8/2014 @ 8:59 am

    Also, his sudden death was suspected to be poisoning by his wife — he had a mistress that he did not go into much effort to hide.

    No, it wasn’t his wife. I suspect it was Mae West, who was totally unknown then..

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  47. It was Coolidge, not Harding, who had a really stupid foreign policy.

    It was while he was president that the Kellog Briand pact was negotiated, outlawing war, although the Washington Naval Treaty was negotiated while Harding was president.

    The persecution of Billy Mitchell, who warned of the possibility of a war with Japan, and the importance of air power, took place under Coolidge.

    Coolidge delegated everything.

    Hoover also wasn’t so good. The cryptographjy was shut down by Secretary of State Henry Stimson while he was president.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  48. Ok, so you’re an Anglophile as well as unabashedly pro-Israel. You dislike Eisenhower because you believe he screwed the UK and Israel; it’s a fair inference that you like Harding because he supported a Jewish homeland.

    No, it doesn’t follow at all. Eisenhower was a bad president for many reasons, most of which have already been mentioned. Screwing the USA’s most important ally is another. (And one needn’t be anything like an Anglophile to see that; what he did was not just bad diplomacy, but also morally wrong.) Screwing Israel is yet another.

    None of this has any relevance to Harding, who was one of the few decent presidents of the 20th century, brought the US back from the disaster of Wilson, cut taxes, and generally played with a straight bat. Teapot Dome may be a byword for corruption, but it hardly deserves that reputation. Compared to any of the real scandals of the 20th century it was very small potatoes. Like Tammany Hall, it was “honest graft”, which would be a welcome change from the ingrained corruption of the permanent public service that we’re used to. Your bizarre leap to claim that if I say Harding was a good president it must be because he had the honesty to support a Jewish homeland (which I didn’t even know) can only have been motivated by your antisemitism. “If a Joooo says something it must be for Joooo reasons (which are naturally opposed to American interests).”

    Supposing, though, that that had been my reason, what would have been wrong with it? Wouldn’t it be a good reason (though not good enough all on its own to justify an entire presidency)?

    Milhouse (2e2c93)

  49. Coolidge was a decent president too, but his foreign policy wasn’t that great. Then again, whose was? There weren’t that many good presidents in the 20th century; Harding, Coolidge, Reagan, and that’s about it. Hoover was a bad president, who only looks kind of good when compared to FDR.

    Milhouse (2e2c93)

  50. There’s a comment of mine trapped in moderation, with some links about Harding from a non-Zinnish persepective.

    Milhouse (2e2c93)

  51. 16. Sammy, when the Korean war ended, it sort of remained “ended”, at least to the degree that the NK communists are still to the north of Seoul and S. Korea.
    The war in Iraq, not so much luck.
    MD in Philly (f9371b) — 8/7/2014 @ 8:08 pm

    You are of course correct that to the degree the Military Demarcation Line (The DMZ extends on both sides) is still the boundary the ceasefire has held.

    It’s probably because the only reason I qualified for membership in the VFW is because I spent enough time in Korea, generally when things were flaring up, that I have a slightly different perspective. There have been quite a few time periods over the years when the soldiers of the 2nd ID have received combat pay for patrolling the DMZ. Also, incidents such as the NORK’s raid on the Blue House in 1968, the Panmunjon Ax Murder in 1976, the Kangnung Sang-o submarine infiltration in 1996, and the NORK attack on the Cheonan and then shelling Yeonpyeong Island in 2010 stick out as reminders that ceasefires do not end wars. Peace treaties end wars. I realize you know this, doc, but I’m dismayed by the fact that people (including but not limited to Obama) speak about ceasefires as if they’re the ultimate resolution to a conflict. What’s even worse about Obama is he talks about “ending” wars as if you can turn conflict on and off like a light.

    “This is how wars end,” he lectured us after he weaseled his way temporarily out of one of his recent FP catastrophes. I forget which one; it’s almost impossible to keep track. But that’s his modus operandi. He abandons the battlefield and our allies and declares the war “ended.” Then we get dragged back into it, but Obama predictably does too little too late because for domestic poltical purposes he needs to be able to still claim he accomplished something positive when he declared the war “ended.” We can expect the same thing in Afghanistan cuz Preezy Prom Queen don’t learn.

    As an aside, Eisenhower was widely seen as a failure when he left office for reasons such as the stalemate in Korea and then the way he handled the U-2 incident. But then Eisenhower was confronted with a lot of firsts. Korea was the first UN war, and nobody had to navigate an age with nuclear weapons before. His stock has risen because compared to his successors’ track record he proved to be better at dealing with these realities than most.

    Steve57 (ba12a7)

  52. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/13/us-ground-troops-direct-role-evacuate-yazidis-iraq

    U.S troops have now been seent to Mt. Sinjar to get these people off. Before taht aa very few weer taken out by helicopter (and now one crashed) and some were able to go to Syria with some staying in the Syrian Kurdish areas, and some continuing into Iraqi Kurdistan, and some maybe were able to leave by a different route, when the U.S. bombed ISIS people attacking Kurdish troops protecting
    the escape route. But it was all too slow.

    Or maybe Obama is still “considering” it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/world/middleeast/us-may-weigh-using-ground-troops-to-aid-rescue-of-iraq-refugees.html

    Obama probably thinks it is going to be a lot easier to recover territory than it is. Trying too hard only maybe loses more towns. One hope is that much of the caliphate’s captured American weaponry requires skilled maintenance or it stops working. That’s our ace in the hole. All American weapon systems are like that.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  53. I suppose you resolve the contradiction by saying a few scouts have landed on the mountain. Obama has sent people used to planning difficult missions to Iraqi Kurdistan.

    Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army may be squeezed out in Syria, near aleppo, and the non-ISIS Saudi supported Islamists aren’t doing to too much better. The caliphate and Bashar Assad’s forces are co-operating around Aleppo.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/syrian-forces-advance-on-aleppo-rebels-fear-another-siege-1407860811

    “We’re about to lose Aleppo and no one cares,” said Hussam Almarie, an FSA spokesman. “We won’t be able to recover the revolution if this happens. And we’ll lose the moderates in Syria.”

    Noah Bonsey, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, agreed. “The net impact of losing Aleppo will be the withering of the mainstream opposition” in six months or a year, he said.

    “For the regime, this will be a crushing blow to the opposition as a viable fighting force and to its morale,” he said. “Some rebels may give up and seek a compromise with the regime, or look to join the only viable fighting force left, which is becoming ISIS.”

    The Islamic State, a more radical offshoot of al Qaeda, is currently being bombarded by U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq. But the White House hasn’t moved against the group in Syria, its power base….

    ..But for now, analysts such as Mr. Bonsey say the regime seems content to allow the Islamic State to continue picking off the FSA, despite the hazards.

    How long will it be before they sign a 10-year mutual non-agression pact?

    And split up Syria.

    Iran has endorsed the new Iraqi prime Minister designate, but that may be because Maliki had no chance and tghey at least have some hopes here of getting soemthing under their control.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)


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