White House Now Says Ground Troops Possible to Save Yazidis

Update: CENTCOM says the U.S. today struck an ISIS convoy west of Sinjar using a remotely piloted aircraft. This new Guardian op-ed explains why military intervention by the U.S. is the wrong answer.


Deputy national security adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes, speaking from Martha's Vineyard today, said Obama will consider proposals to use ground troops to save the Yazidis. He also said the U.S. would not use ground troops in combat in Iraq.

ISIS meanwhile marches on.[More...]

Yesterday and today it captured a string of towns and villages in the Aleppo province in Northern Syria, including Akhtarin, Turkman Bareh, Al-Masoudiya, Al-Ghoz & Dawabeq . ISIS today said it also captured Dabiq. Fox News says the same. They appear headed to Marea and Azaz. Losing Aleppo could crush the Syrian rebels, provide ISIS with a fresh batch of recruits from the Free Syrian Army who are likely to switch sides.

More car bombs went off in Baghdad today, killing many.

Maliki is holding on, saying he won't leave before a court decision comes down.

France24 has an article on the false images being used to spread horror tales of ISIS. ISIS doesn't hesitate to take credit for its actions, however horrific they may be to the rest of the world. It also proceeds according to its strict beliefs, and the acts depicted in the false photos are not consistent with those beliefs.

Yesterday Twitter took down all the ISIS official province accounts. That's a silly thing to do since the accounts provide a way to monitor ISIS movements. Today most are back up with new accounts, but they are subject to being zapped again at any time.

Back to the use of US troops. There are so many different groups in the U.S. calling for military attacks on ISIS. Is it inevitable? Will Obama cave to their demands under pressure? I hope not because it will be another endless war with large numbers of civilian deaths and U.S. casualties. There will be no clear exit strategy. How would success be measured?

Intervention for humanitarian reasons is one thing, and we should leave it at that.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Okay (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:17:14 PM EST
    Well, all those who were all over Hillary for what she said what do you have to say now?

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Yman on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:19:56 PM EST
    Is Obama suddenly a "neo-con", too, based on this "more interventionist and militarily aggressive approach"?

    I would suggest (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:31:02 PM EST
    Anyone who says we should stay out completely take a look at the video of the people - the few people - who were old or young or sick enough to be taken out on one of the aid helicopters.   That was not the intention apparently, to take people out, and it was supposed to only be able to carry 15 and it took off with about 50.  

    Hard to look at those faces and say we should just let them be slaughtered.


    I don't know of anyone who is saying (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:08:49 PM EST
    we shouldn't provide military assistance for the humanitarian purpose of getting the Yazedis off the mountain to a safe place. The debate is over whether we should go further and put troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria for the purpose of militarily defeating ISIS as a threat.

    There is a big difference between military intervention for humanitarian purposes and military intervention for political purposes.

    Neo-con is short for "Neoconservatives". According to the dictionary a neoconservative is:

    a conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means

    Military intervention for the purpose of reducing terror threats in other countries is also known as the "Bush Doctrine."

    The Bush Doctrine holds that enemies of United States are using terrorism as a war of ideology against the United States. The responsibility of the United States is to protect itself and its friends by promoting democracy where the terrorists are located so as to undermine the basis for terrorist activities

    Bush in a 2001 speech:

    We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

    Bush in 2002:

    Our security will require transforming the military you will lead -- a military that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives.

    Others refer to the Bush Doctrine as one of "preemptive war", striking before a threat to the U.S.


    I am not advocating military involvement (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:26:59 PM EST
    But getting those people off the mountain may require some kind of military force.   They are talking about creating a "corridor" where the can safely come down.  There are thousands.  It won't be a small corridor.  Will some one else do that and allow us to provide assistance?  Probably.  Will they?
    Should we do it if no one else does?  I do not presume to know.  I only know that, as I said, it's hard to look at those faces and say we should do nothing.
    The fact that we did it in Rwanda doesn't make it easier to imagine.

    Also I think some are saying we should do nothing.

    If the point is we should not get into a shooting war with ISIS I agree.  


    One other thought (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:47:36 PM EST
    You said we should provide military assistance for the humanitarian purpose of helping those trapped.  And I agree.
    But the very act of doing that opens up the possibility of having aircraft shot down, prisoners taken, who knows what else.   In that sense those who say we should do nothing are right.  It is a slippery slope.  
    Does that mean we let them die?  I would have to say I do not think so.

    Yes, first it was Jim (none / 0) (#15)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:34:01 PM EST
    Then me. Then Hillary and now Obama. While I don't really know what a neocon is, nor do I care, you are welcome to join the club that is very concerned about ISIS and believes that ISIS must be checked. I think the name of the club should be TalkMiddle.

    I don' t think (none / 0) (#26)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:16:10 PM EST
    Obama is going to use troops to check ISIS.

    He is more focused on humanitarian assistance.

    You challended me on Iranian troops in Iraq and I cited you an article and you ignored it.

    ISIS is terrible for those in Iraq in Syria....But not a direct threat to the U.S.


    Never saw your article. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:24:55 PM EST
    Would be happy to read it. My vacation ended a few days ago. You shouldn't have viewed my comments to you as a "challenge". I have never read or seen anything that said Iran would counter ISIS.

    Voila! (none / 0) (#28)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:31:22 PM EST
    By the way, I never challenged you (none / 0) (#52)
    by Green26 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:07:46 AM EST
    on Iranian troops in Iraq. I know Iran has been helping all along, and have said that previously. I said I had never seen anyone say that Iran was going to take care of ISIS generally, so the US didn't have to check ISIS. ISIS is in more places than Iraq, and is looking like it wants to be in multiple countries. Big difference between being countering ISIS generally and assisting in Iraq.

    It it is not just me (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:13:37 PM EST
    There are others who are concerned.

    See Big Orange Diary.


    Once (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 06:24:18 AM EST
    again tough talk scares people but crickets about Obama actually sending ground troops brings crickets. So I guess it's all about the talk.

    Bill Maher (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:02:40 AM EST
    said the real critique of Obama is that he should talk more like John Wayne.  Not that he should actually do anything materially different.  Just talk tough.

    But macho talk even if it is just talk can lead to sloppy thinking.  I prefer the more thoughtful approach in style and substance.

    And, John Wayne, was at heart not really what his image showed him to be.  He had sensitive Scandinavian traits--which I think shown through and made him emotionally approachable.  Marion Morrison.   Did not serve in World War II unlike Jimmy Stewart and many other actors of his day.   And he was according to his wife Pilar always trying to compensate for that.

    A good lesson on how tough talk is not always what it is cracked up to be.


    Yes, More Like John Wayne (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:05:46 AM EST
    I think Green26 has been arguing for that. Must be from watching too much teevee in his or her formative years.

    Mahrer (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:27:19 AM EST
    is only partially right. Obama does not have to sound like John Wayne but the problem is Obama can't really articulate what exactly his stance is. He talks in circles.  And as far as thoughtful, no he's not. He's reactionary when it comes to foreign policy. He lets the events make the decisions and then it's just willy nilly. In a lot of ways he is just as reactionary as George W. Bush except George W. Bush was proactively unnessarily reactionary and Obama is coming from behind reactionary.

    Knee Jerk (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:33:07 AM EST
    Obama talks in circles?

    More than most politicians?

    Seems to me that he is handling the ISIS crisis quite well.

    Syria too, imo.

    Russia too..

    He has said that it is Iraq's problem not ours.

    Where is the circle talk?

    Seems clear to the GOPers where Obama stands and they do not like it.


    Actually (none / 0) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:06:43 AM EST
    yes, he does speak in circles more than most politicians. You are confusing speaking in circles with polispeak which they all do. And there again, if it's Iraq problem why is sending ground troops? His stances seem to change daily as a solution to what is going on and he doesn't seem to be able to actually articulate what the goal is.

    Ground Troops? (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:11:08 AM EST
    Seems like that was already covered here, humanitarian reasons.

    But the situation has changed.

    Seems to me that you would rather have a BushCo approach.

    "You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."

    You see (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:45:56 AM EST
    that's the problem. You're either wish Bush or you're against him. There is no middle ground. It's no different than the tea party mentality. There is  lot of space in between Obama and Bush when it comes to foreign policy.

    Yes (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:58:01 AM EST
    What would you have had Obama done?


    Iraq and ISIS?


    Well, (none / 0) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 12:24:42 PM EST
    with regards to Iraq he probably could have looked at what was going on and not held fast to the agreement that Bush made for one.

    OK (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:07:46 PM EST
    Well you obviously have zero respect for Obama.

    he probably could have looked at what was going on and not held fast to the agreement that Bush made for one.

    You think Obama is a puppet?

    Extraordinary, well not so much since you consider Obama unable to do anything but talk in circles, but really you do not think that Obama considered all the options, consulted his advisors and then acted?


    WHO'S "more thoughtful approach"? (none / 0) (#43)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 06:26:01 PM EST

    Obama Threatens Force Against Syria

    Obama: US will continue threatening Syria

    Direct, US military action ... not arming rebels.


    You can argue until you are (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:40:40 PM EST
    blue in the face, and no amount of parsing is going to change the fact that Hillary is trying to get to the right of Obama on foreign policy.

    Hillary has always been (none / 0) (#45)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:47:43 PM EST
    To the right of Obama on foreign policy.  I think losing the primary had something to do with that.

    Not a Dime's Worth of Difference, IMO (none / 0) (#46)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:31:46 PM EST
    Particularly on foreign policy.

    If that were the case he certainly would not have slated her for SOS.


    I think she (none / 0) (#47)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:36:18 PM EST
    Is more hawkish than Obama.  Maybe 8 cents worth.

    Nah (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:45:35 PM EST
    I think that because she is a woman she has to talk tougher, and that is not a negative. For Obama to be seen as a hawk is a negative (angry black man), but when it comes down to policy they have little difference. The visuals do vary though.

    Obama was late to the table with arming the syrian rebels, but he did it anyway. I think that it was a coin toss at the time Hillary was arguing for it, considering what has happened to US arms in the hands of rebels historically...  Obama and his advisors overruled Hillary at the time, but spent a billion last year between arms, humanitarian aid, and training.


    And you can repeat your ... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:07:55 PM EST
    ... fact-free claims till you're blue-in-the-face, it won't change the fact that you call her a neo-con for suggesting we should have aided the Syrian rebels while lauding Obama who threaten direct, US military action in Syria.

    It's seriously funny.


    Well, now, I never called her (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:19:54 PM EST
    a neocon.....

    No - you said you ... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:42:10 PM EST
    ... "hoped she isn't a neocon", while saying she was pursuing a more interventionist and militarily aggressive approach than Obama, because of her suggestion that we should have aided the Syrian rebels.  Yet you "like" the "more thoughtful approach" of the guy who repeatedly threatened direct, US military action in Syria and "enormous consequences" if Syria crossed his red line.



    Everybody lies... (none / 0) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:31:50 PM EST
    One Has to Wonder... (none / 0) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:36:36 PM EST
    ...if the two are correlated.

    Less than week from 'no' to 'probably', what happened ?  Airstrikes not working like the other zillion airstrikes of the past decade ?  

    It's very odd, but not unexpected.

    Back in Iraq, great, and it's not republicans fault they failed for 7 years to make Iraq the shining democracy of the Middle East.

    Should be interesting to watch the House whine about Obama not having the authority, or cash, to try and salvage a country they decimated.


    I know. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:34:24 PM EST
    It is strange though that things seemed to be going along okay until Hillary left. Maybe that is just coincidence. I don't know but all of a sudden we're going from air strikes to ground troops to whatever else there might be.

    Please, say it ain't so (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Peter G on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 07:28:21 PM EST
    First, it's "limited" ground troops for "humanitarian" reasons.  Then, some bozo/provocateur attacks some of those soldiers, or takes one prisoner, and the next thing you know, it's war again.  

    US troops apparently already on the mountain (none / 0) (#10)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 07:37:02 PM EST
    assessing the situation. Fewer people up there than expected. In relatively good shape.

    Actually (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 07:43:33 PM EST
    According to CNN they already left the mountain.   CNN says they knew they were there but did not report it until now because of a (entirely reasonable IMO) request from the DOD

    However (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 07:44:34 PM EST
    Some will be returning most likely

    Would not be the same (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:51:29 PM EST
    Special forces lose a lot of people in risky ventures like this and retaliation does not exist in this realm.  Even if the Republicans can't quit screaming about Benghazi....we don't retaliate under such "special forces" humanitarian/mission circumstances.  The players eat the risk to be on the right side of history.

    Yes, I realize that. I have both a brother-in-law (none / 0) (#41)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 12:28:09 PM EST
    and a nephew who are or were in Army Special Forces.  I'm sure what you say is true.  I was referring to a "limited" deployment of regular troops for a "humanitarian" purpose.  

    From what I understand it (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:33:24 AM EST
    Is all Special Forces doing everything we are doing on the ground in Iraq.

    Dominoes, man... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:38:19 AM EST
    IMO More of this needed (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:38:06 PM EST
    More regional help needed not U.S. involvement.

    While the U.S. and Iraqi military have struggled to aid the starving members of Iraq's Yazidi minority with supply drops from the air, the Syrian Kurds took it on themselves to rescue them. The move underlined how they -- like Iraqi Kurds -- are using the region's conflicts to establish their own rule.

    For the past few days, fighters have been rescuing Yazidis from the mountain, transporting them into Syrian territory to give them first aid, food and water and returning some to Iraq via a pontoon bridge. link

    In a previous thread (none / 0) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 05:04:38 PM EST
    I conveyed my evaluation of Mrs. Clinton's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in Atlantic.  My assessment was based on a full reading of the transcript, not just the cover narrative.  As I noted, the Secretary's responses seemed balanced and diplomatic.

    An evaluation could focus on the few places where President Obama and Mrs. Clinton departed and ignore the many more places where she was supportive, or indicated that if her recommendations in the contentious debates among advisors was accepted the situations might not have been significantly different. And, she explained her take on the "don't do stupid stuff" along with the "not an organizing principle." quote.

    Mr. Goldberg was looking for two scoops:  Is she running for president and what areas does she differ from the president (seeking a story).  Of course, the second part of the story was gleaned although the first remained elusive.  

    The alleged  inner hawk,  widely reported, leading to areas of differences related to arming Syria rebel moderates, primarily, and the possible sequelae of ISIS in Iraq.  A fair but debatable point. One, in my view, tilts to the president.

    But, the course in Iraq is not an area of specific differences. Mrs. Clinton has been opposed to group troops being re-introduced.  Of course, so far, these are labeled humanitarian ground advisers, or a similar not combat designation.   On this, there would be no differences between the president--as there was none in Libya.  

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:43:59 PM EST
    And apart from Goldberg wanting to show that he got the scoop on Hilary's entering the race, he has a loooooong history of fanning the flames for mideast war.

    For some history Greenwald rips him a new one.


    "ripped". 2010. (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:39:33 AM EST
    Forgot The Colon (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 07:28:37 AM EST
    no pun intended...

    I think the supposedly strategic and business-like (none / 0) (#6)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:20:31 PM EST
    ISIS totally goofed up by creating this huge humaniarian problem (and doing some of the other outrageous stuff it's been doing). ISIS managed to get Obama to commit to airstrikes, increased military support, and now possibly some troops. It may have contributed to Hillary speaking out (don't know about this or the timing of the interview). It has caused the Kurds and Iraqi government to cooperate more. It may have encouraged the new president to pick a premier other than Maliki (either because of what Obama was saying/doing, or for other reasons like inclusion). It's caused other countries to focus on the situation and start sending humanitarian aid. I suspect that many things that ISIS has been doing is causing multiple other countries in the Middle East to sit up and take notice, and focus on the threat. Maybe the latter was going to occur anyhow.

    Even a few weeks ago, who would have thought these things would all occur?

    The premise of the new linked Guardian op-ed (none / 0) (#16)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:43:50 PM EST
    is almost silly. Even though help for the Yazidis is probably necessary, it shouldn't come from a country like the US or Britain, as they were involved in dismantling Iraq. It should come from someone else. Of course, Obama, who authorized the recent activity, had nothing to do with the decision to invade Iraq and opposed the US activity in Iraq all along.

    If the world and the Yazidis waited for the action proposed by this writer, most of them would be dead by now, and the rest would be dying.

    We've ignored similar crises in the past. (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:06:25 PM EST
    Especially in Africa.

    Darfur, Rwanda (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:14:08 PM EST
    Not without regret (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:55:22 PM EST
    Sounds like a team effort was employed between us, and the Kurds of Turkey, and the Kurds of Iraq.  Speaks highly of the skills this President possesses.  It isn't just us on the line, citizens of Iraq and Turkey are with us.

    I was going to say that (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:56:54 PM EST
    But decided I had said enough.   Not our finest hour IMO