In Iraq, a test of Obama's use of force doctrine

'When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action'
Associated Press
Aug 9, 2014

 

In making the case for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, President Barack Obama is drawing on the doctrine involving the use of American force that he outlined less than three months ago, when it seemed he was trying to avoid potential U.S. military action anywhere.

In a late May speech at the U.S. Military Academy, Obama said he would use military force under two scenarios: a direct threat against Americans or U.S. interests, and a humanitarian crisis on a scale that he said would "stir the conscience."

On Thursday night, when Obama announced that he had authorized airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops in Iraq, he argued that both conditions were being met.

"When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action," Obama said. "And when many thousands of innocent civilians are faced with the danger of being wiped out and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action."

Two days later, he suggested the U.S. engagement in Iraq will go on for some time.

"This is going to be a long-term project," Obama said of achieving the political climate in Iraq that its leaders need to counter terrorist threats.

U.S. military jets have conducted several airstrikes on militant targets near Iraq's Kurdish capital of Irbil, home to a U.S. consulate and about three dozen American military trainers. The military also has undertaken two airdrops of food and water for Iraqis under siege from the Islamic State group, and Obama has authorized strikes if needed to protect the civilians.

The deteriorating situation appears to fall within the parameters for military action Obama outlined. Yet the shift from a theoretical argument about using force to actually doing just that will test the scope and application of Obama's policy.

Already Obama is facing the question of why Iraq's besieged religious minorities are worthy of U.S. military support, but not those in the civil war in Syria, where 170,000 people have died.

The same question could apply to the violence in the Central African Republic or the Congo.

Frederic Hof, a senior fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said that even though he welcomed Obama's decision in Iraq, it was inevitable that "those who have called for a similar humanitarian intervention in Syria will wonder why Iraq and why not Syria."

Obama's advisers say there are important differences between Iraq and Syria. Officials note that Obama is undertaking military action in Iraq at the invitation of that country's government, while in Syria, U.S. intervention would aim to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Officials also say that the ties built between the U.S. and Iraq during nearly a decade of war have left the military with significant intelligence and surveillance resources that provide keen insight into the situation there. Such resources, officials say, do not exist in Syria.

"While there are lessons that can be drawn from our involvement in other places, there is no direct correlation between action in one place and action in another in terms of guiding the decisions that are made solely by the consequences for American national security," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Obama has used military force on humanitarian grounds once before. When the U.S. joined NATO allies in a bombing campaign over Libya in 2011, Obama cited the risk of an imminent massacre of civilians in Benghazi as the rationale.

Critics of the White House foreign policy say that if Obama had applied a similar doctrine to Syria, he could have averted the current crisis in Iraq. The Islamic State group that's pressing through Iraq has its roots in Syria. It strengthened amid the instability of the Syrian civil war before advancing across the border.

There has been little overt criticism of the president's decision to launch attacks aimed at protecting the American. But there are questions about the scope of the mission, which appears focused on containing the Islamic State, but not wiping out the militant group all together.

"A policy of containment will not work," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a joint statement. The lawmakers, who have been among Obama's chief foreign policy critics, called the Islamic State "inherently expansionist" and warned that "the longer we wait to act, the worse this threat will become."

The White House says it would not launch a broader campaign to help Iraq push back the militants unless the country addresses a fractured political system that U.S. officials say created the space for the Sunni extremists to take hold.

Even if Iraq can mend its politics, Obama insists he would not put American combat troops on the ground in Iraq, nor would he allow the country to be "dragged back" into a lengthy war there yet again.

"Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq," he said Saturday at the White House. "The United States can't do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort."

 

Comments

Contango

Re: "use military force under two scenarios: a direct threat against Americans or U.S. interests, and a humanitarian crisis on a scale that he said would 'stir the conscience.'"

Considering that criteria, when's the Incompetent-in-Chief going to take military action against N. Korea's Dear Leader?

Factitious

Bad idea. Why disrupt the self-destruction?

Contango

N. Korea doesn't fit that criteria?

coasterfan

The Incompetent-In-Chief left office in January 2009.

Contango

And the U.S. version of Dear Leader was inaugurated on 1/20/09.

Factitious

Comparing the U.S. Commander-in-chief to the N. Korean dictator is silly. We have free and fair elections, and our President is elected. Well, this one was, anyway.

Contango

Re: "We have free and fair elections,"

This empty suit wasn't bought and paid for? LMAO!!!

Again: N. Korea doesn't fit his criteria?

The Big Dog's back

Shot down again pooh. You know, you'd think you'd quit spreading your propaganda that gets mowed over every time.

Blackberry Phale

Barry must be a double agent. He is destroying the US and bombing his kind.

wasthere

Afraid of a bush coaster? Tell your wife, not us.

abigbear

The Islamic State Terror Group’s Spokesman Has a Message for the United States: ‘I Say to America…’
Aug. 8, 2014 8:50pm Oliver Darcy
HTTP://YOUTU.BE/BSCZZPMBECS
SHARES
• Share This
• Tweet This


Americans should stop being “cowards” and attacking the Islamic State terror group with drones, the terror group’s spokesperson told Vice News, adding that the militants aim to reach the U.S.
“I say to America, that the Islamic Caliphate has been established,” Abu Mosa said. “And we will not stop.”
Watch: The Islamic State’s message to America (warning: some graphic footage in video):
“Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones,” he continued. “Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”
“[W]e will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”
Share:
On Friday, the U.S. launched a new round of airstrikes against Islamic State targets. The airstrikes appeared to provoke the militant group’s sympathizers who turned to Twitter to warn Americans to back off.
Posting under the hashtag “#AmessagefromISIStoUS,” individuals who appeared to be members of the Islamic State said the militant group had an “appointment in New York.”
“Every American Citizen working in any country will be slaughtered if America attack Iraq,” another warned.
Several even threatened that the terror group will target American embassies.
A vast majority of the tweets contained very graphic images that TheBlaze has chosen not to publish. The messages included photos of decapitated heads, dead U.S. soldiers and pictures showing the 9/11 terror attacks.
President Barack Obama said Thursday night during a special prime-time address that heauthorized targeted airstrikes if needed to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq.
U.S. forces have also delivered humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced Iraqi minorities who had become stranded on a mountain after fleeing the terror group

The Big Dog's back

Once again, your point?

abigbear

no point dog nothing for the koolaide drinkers here

Two Republican Leaders Make the Same Dire Prediction: The Caliphate Is Coming to America
Aug. 10, 2014 11:59am Zach Noble
4.6K
SHARES
Share ThisTweet This
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has conquered a huge chunk of the Middle East — and inflicted brutal sharia law and persecution of Christians — in a short timespan, and the radical Islamists could be capable of striking a more distant target: the U.S.

Two Republican leaders echoed one another during Sunday morning interviews when they claimed that ISIS posed a credible threat to the American homeland.

“These people that are coming to fight on the side of ISIS are returning to their countries in Europe and there’s 100 of them that we are tracking in the United States,” said Sen. John McCain on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ”As I mentioned to you already, one was in Syria, came back to the United States, and then went back to Syria and blew himself up. Mr. Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, when he left our Camp Bucca, the camp in Iraq, he said, ‘See you in New York.’”

According to McCain, ISIS has the motivation, and is gaining the ability, to attack the U.S.

“If you read what they’re saying, we are the enemy, they want to destroy us,” he said. “They are getting stronger all the time. Their goal, as they have stated time after time, is the destruction of the United States of America.”

At about the same time on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Lindsey Graham offered a similar prediction.

“They’re coming here,” he said. “This is not just about Baghdad, not just about Syria. It’s about our homeland. If we get attacked because [Obama] has no strategy to protect us, then he will have committed a blunder for the ages.”
Graham and McCain are not the only people saying ISIS could come to America; ISIS spokesman Abu Mosa recently proclaimed, “God willing … we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”

The Big Dog's back

McCain and Graham? They want us to invade Russia. Do you agree?

samiam

"When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action," Obama said. Tell that to Christopher Stevens.

"And when many thousands of innocent civilians are faced with the danger of being wiped out and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action." Yeah, if they're not Americans.

Factitious

Wingnuts are such hypocrites. When their Idiot-in-chief Dubya was in charge, every criticism of his military bungling was framed as "endangering our troops." Then, the moment we have a Democratic president, EVERY action is criticized, even when the second-guessing weakens our position and helps our enemies.

Contango

Re: "the moment we have a Democratic president, EVERY action is criticized,"

So you agree with military action against ISIL?

Assad likes his new ally.

The Big Dog's back

C'mon Sergeant Schultz pooh, draw the list up of who we should invade. I know nothing.

Blackberry Phale

Blah blah blah....

coasterfan

Sam: the bipartisan Benghazi investigative committee led by Republicans quietly released their findings things past week. They found that Obama and his administration were not at fault. I know, I know! you didn't know about it because Fox didn't cover it. The interesting thing is that the supposed left-leaning mainstream media barely covered it as well.

Contango

Re: "Obama and his administration were not at fault."

What the h*ll was an ambassador doing in a war zone, when the Red Cross and the Brits had previously pulled out?

Guess Mr. Obama and his cronies weren't at "fault" for their usual poor judgment?

What U.S. interests were involved in taking military action in Libya?

The Big Dog's back

Sergeant Schultz pooh, the military strategist. "I know nothing".

Blackberry Phale

Of course the liberals and media aren't interested in hi-liting their failure to expose the corruption and gun running of Benghazi.

sugar

This idiot does nothing for humanity, everything he does is a political calculation.
In over his head. Inept.

Coram Deo

The vacuum left by an almost non-existent, feckless foreign policy by the Obama Administration has allowed a very deadly militant strain of Islam to run rampant in Iraq to the point that ISIS is beheading small children and cutting them in half. He should be impeached.

Anglican Vicar of Baghdad: “Child I baptised cut in half by ISIS”
http://www.anglicannews.org/news...

WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS (RAW) - ISIS begins killing Christians in Mosul, CHILDREN BEHEADED

http://www.catholic.org/news/int...

sugar

I thought everything we did was for THE CHILDREN. Sickening. Obama does not care because they are Christians and his allegiance is with his people Muslims.

The Big Dog's back

So you think it was wrong that bush invaded Iraq too? Glad you agree that Saddam had that country under control.

freespeech1

He sure did puppy poo he killed hundreds of thousands of them including the use of nerve gas. You think that kind of control is OK?

The Big Dog's back

So you were for the invasion of Iraq. Good to know. The soldiers who were killed and maimed thank you.

freespeech1

Remember the outcry from Darfor? The libs wanted us to go in there and stop the killing. What's the diff? You on the left are selective on who should get humanitarian support. And its always got an agenda.

KURTje

Post away n0n-veteran k.ia.

There you go again

"When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action," Obama said.

Many Americans will agree that, by allowing undocumented people across our border, we are putting Americans at risk. What's Obama gonna do about that?!?! Oh, he wants to welcome them into our country. Hmmm...

The Big Dog's back

Should we drone them?

AJ Oliver

Hey Contagious is not to be doubted. He is the one who figured out that Canada (and UK, Germany, Austrailia, etc.) all have TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENTS.

SamAdams

...and now AJ Oliver joins the rest of the outspoken left on these blogs by resorting to name calling. I guess that's what people do when they've got nothing else, eh?

Blackberry Phale

Yup.

LIBERAL ARGUMENT PLAYBOOK -

1. Ignore Facts that hurt your position. When that doesnt work,

2. Blame Bush. When that doesnt work,

3. Call Them Racists and then run away fast.

Note: if facts continually come your way, simple repeat steps 1-3.

Dr. Information

Remember though, we left Iraq in a solid state where they can take care of themselves......Obama.

deertracker

Ahh yes, the suburban zombies are at it again!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

JMOP's picture
JMOP

Lol! That was funny!!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I enjoyed that, deer!

Donegan

Until we get this admin out of office we should not go in anywhere. We support the radical terrorist in Syria (Not to mention the weapons we gave Iraq) only to fight against them in Iraq. We are effectively fighting our own weapons. A weapon manufacturers dream.
http://www.vox.com/2014/8/8/5982...
So get all the military out of everywhere, Send the liberal know it alls to these countries to sort stuff out since they know everything and cannot stand the US, Let them "Fundamentally change" those nations into the totalitarian utopia they want so badly.