Last night President Obama announced from the White House that he has authorized "limited airstrikes" against Islamic militants in Iraq, essentially to stem the fall of the Kurdish capital of Erbil, as well as protect the thousands of Yazidi minority civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar, also located in northern Iraq.
“I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these,” Obama said. “I understand that. I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done. As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.”
You know Obama didn't want to do this; one of his central legacies will be that, as promised, he got the U.S. out of Iraq. And now he's been dragged back into the Middle Eastern country which has set U.S. foreign policy back so much since the Bush administration's misbegotten 2003 invasion that was supposed to be about eliminating that country's weapons of mass destruction.
Administration officials (and some of their Democratic allies in Congress) are stressing that those American warplanes that are authorized to attack the Sunni fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will be limited in scope — that this is not going to turn into "mission creep," with the U.S. getting heavily involved.
If that's truly the case, you can bet this won't mollify neo-conservatives and hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who will clog the airwaves this weekend. They already are saying that Obama has been asleep at the wheel regarding the situation with ISIL (or ISIS if you like, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
In other news…
CL's issue this week is all about the small Pinellas County town of Gulfport
. We checked in with Mayor Sam Henderson, City Councilwoman Yolanda Roman, and a host of other folks to find out what's happening there politically.
St. Pete City Council members were already a bit peeved that they couldn't get more face time with the four police candidates nominated on the shortlist for Mayor Kriseman, and several were very upset when local favorite Melanie Bevans didn't make the final cut last month. But when the mayor went outside his own process and hired former Clearwater Police Chief Tony Holloway, nearly all of them felt like their opinions had gone undervalued. So the council voted yesterday to put a measure on November's ballot
that calls for a change in the charter so they can voice their opinions without losing their jobs.
And there are five School Board seats up for election this year in Pinellas County — three of them that will be decided for certain on August 26. Yesterday most of those candidates gathered in St. Petersburg for a Tiger Bay Club forum event.