The United States would save much blood, toil, tears, and sweat defeating ISIS decisively now rather than later. Yet Obama's pinprick response devoid of strategic rationale will invite the maximum contempt for American resolve.
From the crucible of the Great War that was sprinting towards a full boil 100 years ago this month, these chapters, taken together, illuminate how that war continues to shape not only our world in a lofty, conceptual way, but in today's headlines.
The psychological trauma inflicted when children lose their parents, see their homes destroyed, or experience torture, is not easily alleviated, particularly when they have to remain in the stressful and unfamiliar environment of a refugee camp. Save the Children's staff see the signs of this in places like Syria and Gaza, from night terrors and bed wetting to children who refuse to speak.
Late in 2012, I attended a small briefing with a senior White House security official. Each of the dozen people there had a chance to speak, and most took the opportunity to lobby for something. I asked this question: Who are we rooting for in Syria?
Clutching a teddy bear in one arm and a balloon in another, the little boy with a deep scar under his eye looked up and asked in Arabic, very gently... almost a whisper: "Khala (aunt) Rym. Can I have toothpaste for my sisters and I?"
Every day the news seems to suggest the World is getting scarier and more dangerous. Iraq, Gaza, Syria, South Sudan - the list goes on. For me reading the news is never a shock. I spend my working life immersed in the horrors, the violence and the poverty that blight the globe.
When two aid workers were shot dead in Afghanistan last month, the world's media focused its attention on the dangers of 21st century humanitarianism and the challenges that assistance agencies face in protecting their personnel.
The violence that spun out of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria grabbed the headlines but the real problem received little attention -- lack of opportunity. This lack of opportunity for the people of the Middle East is an issue the West largely ignored and partly caused.
Iran, which bears tremendous political, social and economic influence in Iraq and is considered to be the most significant foreign force in Baghdad, has made a critical tactical shift with regards to its foreign policy towards the sectarian conflict, civil war, rise of the Islamic State, and other affiliated extremist Sunni insurgencies in Iraq.
Isolationist America's foreign policy and standing in the world has been further emasculated in the process. Conservative political pundits in the U.S. criticize President Obama for failing to act in a more decisive manner to stem the tide. They remain delusional in their belief that anything the U.S. can do will make a difference.
"We walked for more than 20 hours with no food or water," says Juan, an adolescent girl who arrived at Nawrouz refugee camp in north-east Syria three days ago, along with eight family members. Juan is from the Yazidi minority group, many of whom are fleeing to Syria from the mountains of Sinjar in Iraq.
The events in Iraq this week may represent the entryway to a new approach in Saudi-Iranian ties, with the removal of the obstacle represented by Nouri al-Maliki, and the deal to appoint Haidar Abadi as prime minister to form a consensus, non-exclusionary government in Iraq.
A political solution is needed to bring an end to the fighting, but in the meantime, we can and must do more to help the region withstand the far-reaching effects of the conflict -- and we must do it better, faster and smarter.
The reality is that the footage we, war journalists, capture in the field isn't always 'striking' or insightful. In many cases we are forced to stand a good way from the frontline for our own safety, or if we are on the frontline, we can't stay there for long... unmanned remote control drones fitted with high definition gyroscopic cameras will change the role of the war reporter.
It's said that the best defense is a good offense. This strategy probably lies behind Hillary Clinton's recent takedown of President Barack Obama's foreign policy. After all, Clinton was a lead architect of that policy as Secretary of State, and the policies that she espoused until recently now lie in shambles.
In the case of the Islamic State, the question we need to ask is: What can we do to make things right? What can we do to protect the vulnerable? What can we do to stop the violence?