A critical part of America's plan to resolve all issues left unresolved after nine years of war and occupation is to divide the indigenous Sunnis from the "foreign" Sunnis, i.e., ISIS, and "unite" Iraq.
Those of us who have served in the military know the best-outlined plans can quickly be torn up by the realities of combat. The question facing the Obama administration is what happens next if things don't go according to plan?
The threat of entering an impending war in Iraq and Syria in order to, according to President Obama, "degrade and ultimately destroy" the terrorist organization ISIS is a major cause for concern among many people. You can't kill "hate" with weapons. But you can instill fear and generate more hatred with them.
Obama's war violates the UN Charter, a treaty the United States has ratified, making it part of U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Obama's war also violates the War Powers Resolution, which permits the president to introduce U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities only in three situations.
Either the president needs some new faces in the Office of Legal Counsel, or his team needs to do what many of his allies on Capitol Hill are calling for: Ask Congress to grant new statutory authority for the military campaign against ISIL in both Iraq and Syria. What is the administration afraid of?
We are of course very excited and happy that we have contributed to the plan to push the IS out of the Nineveh plains and "eradicate this cancer". But we are not there yet, we will not give up until every single one of our people are safe.
The Free Syrian Army, caught between the al-Assad air forces and the Islamic State group's territorial expansion, will benefit directly from an air campaign that is simultaneously against ISIS but does not allow any other air military activity.
Congress approved attacking Iraq way back in 2003, and the framers of the Constitution didn't intend to allow the chief executive to attack a country in perpetuity. Also, the authorization to use military force against the 9/11 attackers was specifically restricted to those perpetrators, not al Qaeda regional affiliates or splinter groups -- that is, ISIS.
So goes the political dance in America between reality and rhetoric. However, most Americans see past the rhetoric. They understand the reality that the Middle East is a mess and that American military action is not going to do much.
The Islamic State (ISIS) proves the law of unintended consequences. Congratulations America! We killed Christianity in the Middle East and unleashed a terror organization with far greater reach and power than Al Qaeda ever possessed.
It took President Obama a long time and multiple stumbles to back into a foreign policy role that looks something like leadership. If Russian President Putin is agreeing to a cease-fire in Ukraine that just might hold, the U.S.-led combination of pressure and restraint deserves much of the credit. Putin considers the loss of the Ukraine one of the great tragedies of Russian history, and before this conflict is over Putin will probably demand and get greater regional autonomy for Russian-majority Eastern Ukraine. But that beats an annexation or a war. At the outset of this conflict, Germany was prepared to subordinate the independence of Ukraine to long-standing German economic ties with Russia. Chancellor Merkel's new toughness, which helped alter the Russian calculus, would not have happened without U.S. leadership.
The Christian Iraqi children are the latest casualties of the fluid terror led by the Islamic State militants also known as ISIS -- children whose final memories of home are heavily armed men raiding their neighborhoods and schools.
Probably no Americans are more abidingly tired of war than those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. So when Iraq Veterans Against the War gathered in Colorado for its annual convention and to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the question shimmering in the clear mountain air was, what were they celebrating?
It is generally known that Ted Cruz can be a demagogue, a quality that makes him immensely disliked by his colleagues. He is also considered to be quite bright and calculating. And so as I have attempted to understand why he did what he did, two distinct scenarios come to mind.
Congress needs to vote on this war. They need to vote not just on a budget item to move some money to some rebels, they need to vote on a clear Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution.
Cheney's factual errors, misleading statements and hypocrisy are a continuation of his eight years as vice president. Blaming Obama for everything that is not right in the world does not help this country deal with the challenges it faces in the Middle East.