White House Weighs Options in Iraq

June 18, 2014 2:39 PM

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White House Weighs Options in Iraq

The latest news out of Iraq continues to be grim. Sunni militants announced that they had massacred numerous captured Shiite members of Iraq’s security forces; NBC News has not confirmed the authenticity of the photos they released, but that the AP is reporting that an Iraqi military spokesperson says he believes the photos are real. Meanwhile, the AP reports that the same Sunni militants "captured a key northern Iraqi town along the highway to Syria early on Monday, compounding the woes of Iraq's Shiite-led government a week after it lost a vast swath of territory to the insurgents in the country's north." And per NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, multiple independent sources on the ground in Mosul confirm that ISIS has captured the most senior ranking Iraqi military official in Tal Afar along with 40 other military and police personnel. But the message President Obama delivered on Friday made it crystal clear that there’s a very high hurdle for the U.S. intervening in Iraq (via airstrikes or other action), perhaps even higher than folks realize: Iraq’s government has to get its act together first. “The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together,” he said. “We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which while we’re there we’re keeping a lid on things, and after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we’re not there, suddenly people end up acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country.” Already, there’s an assumption that it’s not a matter of “if” Obama acts, but “when.” Well, guess what: That C.W. cemented itself during the Syria crisis, and what happened? Point is, Obama wants to know how he gets out of this, once he gets in -- and that question has NOT been answered.

If you watch a lot of cable news and read the op-ed pages like we do, you realize how wired the New York-DC world -- the Acela Corridor, as we like to call it -- is for using some kind of force in Iraq. “When in doubt, airstrike them out,” could very well be its motto. Of course, one of the reasons ...

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