Authorization Of Military Strikes Places Focus On Obama Decision Making

Meghan O’Sullivan of Bloomberg View wonders whether the “major shift” in policy that some see in President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize the use of military strikes against ISIS in Iraq is a shift of real consequence.

“Perhaps Obama and his team decided to focus almost exclusively on the humanitarian rationale for military action in Iraq because it was the crisis on Sinjar mountain which finally ended the months-long debate in Washington about whether U.S. military force was warranted in Iraq. Or perhaps there was a political assessment that Americans — understandably reluctant to see any military action in Iraq — would tolerate the use of force to prevent genocide but would be indifferent or immune to the persuasive strategic case for action against ISIS,” she writes.

Jacob Siegel, however, sees the use of force as a tacit admission that his policy failed, that his bet that the Kurds could fight off the terrorist group did not pay off.

“Since ISIS began its rampage through Iraq in early June, both the U.S. and Iraqi governments have tacitly bet on the Kurds’ ability to repel ISIS advances in the north. But betting on the Peshmerga to hold the line now looks like a riskier proposition after ISIS broke through Kurdish defenses and set in motion the current crisis,” he contends.

Like the previous columnists, The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin posits that Obama is trying to make up ground lost by his administration’s fatal underestimation of the strength of ISIS.

“That attitude left lawmakers and experts from both the right and the left lamenting that Obama had so badly underestimated the threat posed by ISIS, which in January he compared to a “JV” team wearing pro athletes’ uniforms. They also want the administration to hurry up and decide how it plans to go after the group, both in Iraq and in Syria,” notes Rogin.



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