Just finished watching Obama's televised address regarding America's response to developments in Iraq.
In all honesty, and for the first time in my memory, Obama actually sounded like a confident, committed leader, a genuine commander-in-chief who, by all appearances, sincerely believed what he was saying.
But, despite the intense, polished, in-charge demeanor, it was hard to shake that nagging awareness that Obama remains Obama, all the good, the bad and the ugly, and that he remains totally ideological and politically motivated in all that he says and does.
That said, his decision to conduct humanitarian airdrops to relieve the besieged and starving Iraqi minorities atop a mountain in northern Iraq, this to prevent "genocide" at the hands of ISIS, was refreshing. Though pleasantly surprising and completely out of character, it was nonetheless very good to hear.
And though undefined, his decision to permit "targeted air strikes" in order to "defend American personnel", and to provide "assistance" to both Baghdad forces and the Kurds, his decision was, indeed, encouraging. Again, not having better defined the nature and breadth of those "targeted air strikes" and the "assistance" to be provided to friendly forces in Iraq left me hanging and uncertain.
Throughout his speech he repeated "targeted air strikes" three times and assured Americans that he understood their reluctance to "get dragged into [another] war in Iraq". Certainly, there was no indication that this intervention would be anything but very, very limited.
I couldn't help but recall Clinton's very effective air strikes on Serbian forces in the 90's. It made all the difference in the world--and without boots on the ground. With that successful operation in mind, my hope, of course, is that these "targeted air strikes" will eventually encompass on-going and crippling strikes on all ISIS forces everywhere.
I appreciated his intention to "support moderate forces [in Iraq] to create stability" and to form a new, more inclusive Iraqi government. Obviously, PM Maliki, a divisive and debilitating political force in Iraq, has to go if the Iraqis can ever hope to restore political order, national unity and a more effective Iraqi fighting force capable of fending off or even defeating ISIS .
Ever the globalist, he underscored the need to "consult with the UN and other countries", though what he was expecting of such consultations remained unclear. Troops, arms, air bases?
His one comment which piqued my incredulity was his statement that it was always America's core interest to "support our allies and to lead coalitions", clearly an interest to which, in my humble opinion, he has paid lip service during his stint as Commander-in-Chief.
Another statement which caused me to shake my head in exasperation was that "the world looks to us to lead and that's why we do". Hmmm. I guess I missed all that "leading" over the last six years.
Anyway, I am heartened that this humanitarian effort has been undertaken, but I am also certain--as I am sure he is--that he will now get a bump in the polls for this action.
Finally, because I firmly believe he is, first and foremost, a cold, calculating me-first ideologue, I still don't trust him to do the right thing for the right reasons. Thus, I don't trust that this ill-defined and apparently very limited operation will, in the longer term, satisfactorily serve the interests of Iraq, the Kurds or the United States. Nor do I believe it will appropriately cripple ISIS. On this, I sincerely hope he proves me dead wrong.