The Corner

Tip-Toeing Toward the Precipice

Our commander-in-chief takes reluctant steps, with an ill-thought-out mission, not understanding that against a determined enemy, he is sending a signal of lack of resolve. 

Tactically, it is not possible for 10,000 refugees to straggle unprotected to a safe haven 30 miles (or more) away in Turkey or Kurdistan. So the hope (as opposed to a plan) must be that the jihadists allow the passage in order to avoid casualties from intermittent American air strikes.

Thus the president has set bargaining boundaries. That is, if ISIS does not do such-and-such (like attacking Irbil), we the U.S. will not attack them. 

By linking air strikes to one humanitarian gesture, the president has made it more difficult, if not impossible, for him later to say, “An Islamist fundamentalist state must be defeated, and America will bomb until that happens.” 

Israel is bedeviled by the West Bank and Gaza. America is headed toward a similar imbroglio: a decade of war-jaw with an Islamic state in the center of the Middle East.

Bing West — Bing West, a bestselling author and former assistant secretary of defense, served as a Marine grunt in Vietnam and later as a dean at the Naval War College. A graduate ...

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