Commander-in-chief

After Obama ignored ISIS when American intervention could have been decisive, and continued to ignore ISIS as they unleashed a reign of terror across northern Iraq, the ISIS’s horrifying genocide finally shamed Obama into action:

Arguing that the U.S. could not ignore the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, President Obama Thursday night announced that he had authorized limited air strikes, one of the boldest military moves of his presidency.

Except not really:

U.S. fighter jets launched a “targeted” airstrike on Friday against Islamic militants in Iraq, just hours after President Obama authorized military action to protect U.S. personnel and Iraqi civilians.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it. The Pentagon said the military conducted the strike at 6:45 a.m. ET, against terrorists with the Islamic State (IS), the group formerly known as ISIS.

We bombed one artillery piece. That’ll show ’em.

Still, this action might make the enemy nervous. Except Obama took pains to reassure the enemy:

As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.

It’s a basic tenet of foreign crisis management always to be ambiguous about how far you will go. Ambiguity is a powerful weapon; it forces the enemy to worry about your full capabilities, rather than your self-imposed limits. If you want to have a significant impact, you never rule out doing more.

Unless you’re an idiot, or you just don’t care.

UPDATE: Subsequently, we did bomb ISIS some more, which is good.

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