Nixon and race riots in the news — the Left must be feeling nostalgic.
President Obama won’t be boasting about, to use his terms, “restarting” the Iraq War, but that is what he has done. The Islamic State’s seizure of hundreds of square miles of territory in Iraq, execution of hundreds of civilians, displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of minority religious groups, and declaration of a caliphate finally forced his hand. In early August, Obama authorized U.S. air strikes against the Islamic State, dropped humanitarian aid in parts of Kurdistan that were in the most dire straits, and began aiding the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The campaign has already expanded beyond what the president said would be a narrowly tailored humanitarian operation. But the president maintains that his goal is to support Kurdistan and the Iraqi central government and to protect Iraq’s religious minorities from eradication, not to defeat the Islamic State. Of course, truly accomplishing the former will have to involve doing the latter. We need a comprehensive strategy within Iraq and across the region. We should generously arm the Kurds, and pressure Iraqi politicians, who recently ousted the calamitous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, to form an inclusive government. And we should identify and ally with Sunni tribes that are willing opponents of the Islamic State. President Obama’s operation has succeeded in destroying some Islamic State forces and helping the Kurds retake the crucial Mosul dam — so far, so good. But insufficient.