- Crisis in Iraq August 8
The American military effort in Iraq — which officially ended years ago — has begun once again, with today's bombing of ISIS artillery equipment near the Kurdish capital of Erbil in northern Iraq. President Obama has tried to limit the scope of this mission — saying that airstrikes may be necessary to protect U.S. personnel in Erbil, and invoking the humanitarian imperatives of aiding the 40,000 Yazidi Iraqis who face slaughter at the hands of the Sunni jihadist group ISIS.
Still, as John Cassidy writes at The New Yorker, it's not clear when and how the U.S. can declare this mission completed.
Once the U.S. bombing starts, when will it stop? That is one of the many tough questions that Obama and his colleagues will have to answer. Are the sole goals of the mission to help out the Yazidis and prevent Erbil from falling? Or is this the beginning of a U.S.-led effort not merely to halt the advance of ISIS on its eastern front, in the Kurdish region, but to roll it back everywhere in the country? [The New Yorker]
And even though Obama seems loathe to expand America's mission in Iraq, this week's intervention represents a marked departure from Obama's long-held stance on Iraq.
Already, though, one Rubicon has been crossed. A president who came into office on a promise to pull the United States out of Iraq, and who followed through on his pledge, has just ordered more combat operations in, or over, Iraq. [The New Yorker]- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Want to eliminate the scourge of frat culture? Lower the drinking age.
- Chuck Hagel was a huge mistake
- Yes, the Obama administration's green loans are unprofitable. They should be.
- A brief history of the Guy Fawkes mask
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- What would it take for humans to build a settlement on Mars?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 5 quick things you can do today to boost your creativity
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
Subscribe to the Week