Even if it doesn't represent an immediate threat to the American homeland, the
That's why, Obama said, he is determined to "degrade, and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State "through a "comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy." U.S. air power would be part of the plan in both Iraq and Syria, but not U.S. combat forces. Boots on the ground would belong to "partner forces."
The president is right about the shared global interests in stopping the Islamic State. After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, though, the decision to re-engage militarily in the region is a fraught and complicated one. As he moves forward, he needs to be mindful of the dangers of mission creep and assiduous in pressing other countries to help in the effort. Finally, he should seek congressional endorsement for any sustained use of military force against this enemy.
When Obama ordered airstrikes against Islamic positions in northern Iraq last month, the stated reasons were to protect U.S. personnel and to facilitate the rescue of members of a religious minority that had been forced into a remote area by Islamic State fighters and faced starvation. Even then it was obvious that the air campaign had the additional purpose of shoring up Iraqi and Kurdish forces and preventing the
This page has been supportive of Obama's policy of extricating the U.S. from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq that have cost thousands of American lives. The recent success of the Islamic State has changed the military and political equation, but the U.S. must not forget the lessons of the last 10 years in the region.
In a democracy, the use of military might requires ratification by the people's representatives. Some have argued that taking action against the Islamic State would be legal under congressional authorizations for the use of force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the