Forty thousand members of religious minorities, mostly Yazidis and Christians, terrified by ISIS's threats against them, are huddled on a mountain top in territory recently defended by the beleaguered Kurds in northwest Iraq. The refugees are suffering from heat, thirst, and starvation - 40 children have already died - as the ISIS forces mass at the base of the mountain. ISIS also claims to have gained control of the large Mosul dam that controls the flow of water to Baghdad, and is pushing Kurdish defense forces back to the point where ISIS now threatens the major Kurdish city of Erbil.
It's not certain, however, that it was American planes involved in the attacks since the Pentagon has denied it, but nevertheless, it appears someone is trying to bring some relief to people who live in fear of torture and execution at the hands of these Muslim extremists.
According to the Times the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said that there would be no American combat troops in Iraq and that any military action would be extremely limited.
Why? Didn't Mr. Obama unleash a powerful assault on the government of Libya because Qaddafi was threatening to kill a couple thousand of his citizens? Weren't we told by Samantha Power at the U.N. that we have a moral responsibility to protect the innocent where we can?
The Times article tells us that Mr. Earnest added: “There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq. These problems can only be solved with Iraqi political solutions.”
Well, perhaps, but this confuses sufficient with necessary conditions. It is necessary that the threat posed by ISIS be degraded from the air to the extent that the Kurds and maybe, if miracles happen, the Iraqi army, can push them back into Syria. ISIS is a threat to everyone in that Islamic madhouse called the Middle East, and there's no reason why others, like Turkey and Jordan, shouldn't be lending a hand, and Saudi Arabian businessmen be compelled to stop the flow of aid to their fellow Sunnis in ISIS.
Here's another little detail from the story:
The administration had been delaying taking any military action against ISIS until there is a new Iraqi government. Both White House and Pentagon officials have said privately that the United States would not intervene militarily until Mr. Maliki stepped down. But administration officials said on Thursday that the crisis on Mount Sinjar (where the 40,000 Christians and Muslim minorities are trapped) may be forcing their hand.I understand that Maliki is odious, but people have been dying at the hands of these savages for months now. For Mr. Obama to wait until he gets his way in Baghdad's politics while people are being crucified, beheaded, and starved is itself odious. Iraq is not Syria where failure to get involved was understandable. The immediate situation in Iraq is not nearly so complex.
Mr. Obama, in his determined effort to avoid being George Bush, has made numerous foreign policy blunders in his six years in office. He could redeem some of them by saving the Iraqis, especially the Kurdish Iraqis, from the horrors of ISIS.