Obama Expands Iraq War, Draws Red Line Around Baghdad

White House Talks Up Additional Military Support for Iraq

The Thursday night announcement that the Obama Administration had approved airstrikes in Iraq was followed up by attacks Friday morning, hitting multiple ISIS targets. Multiple rounds of airstrikes have officials already talking up the expansion of the war.

First couched as simply about protecting US troops inside Irbil from the “deteriorating situation,” the administration is now saying they’ll use air strikes not only to protect the Kurdish capital of Irbil, but Baghdad as well, drawing yet another red line to ensure growing US involvement in the war against ISIS.

The direct US insinuation of itself into the latest Iraq War has also got officials talking up sending even more military equipment to the Iraqi military, and also providing direct military support for Iraqi forces.

The administration is still trying to present the plans for growing intervention as “limited” military operations, both in scope and in timeframe, though tellingly they have dodged all questions about how long the operation will last, what the endgame is, and even what the scope will ultimately be.

Instead, officials continue to work at selling the war to the public as a reaction to new situations on the ground in Iraq, despite months of buildup in anticipation of exactly the air war the US “suddenly” finds itself in. Genocide and humanitarian intervention have become the new watchwords, and officials say the action was meant to prevent “another Benghazi.

Yet the Benghazi situation was a function of leaving a consulate open in a profoundly unsafe city. While the administration has presented both Baghdad and Irbil as potentially just as unsafe, nowhere was serious consideration apparent of closing the consulate or the embassy, and instead the administration chose to escalate the war.

Ultimately, President Obama drew a red line around Irbil in his announced air war, and drew another on Baghdad today to escalate it. The policy seems to be presenting whatever level of war currently ongoing as the bare minimum, while constantly shifting it toward a greater US involvement in hostilities.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.