I think that some global understanding needs to be established or affirmed regarding asymmetrical warfare. Something useful may not be possible, but I thought it was at least worth discussion.

How does a recognized government face an enemy with no specified geographic boundary, no diplomatic capacity or public leader?

It is very easy to point to formal positions regarding 'unlawful combatants,' but I can't help but think that our current understandings are not really doing the trick.

From Wikipedia: "An unlawful combatant, illegal combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is a combatant or non-combatant who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war. An unlawful combatant may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action; subject of course to international treaties on justice and human rights."

I suppose it's rather grisly to recognize that there even is 'Law of War,' but this is the world we live in.

I'm lastly reminded of Voltaire who said “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

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Comment by Michael Penn on August 9, 2014 at 10:05am

I guess I could have made myself more plain if I had posted that the 3 Islamic groups fighting there now in Iraq are backed by groups, some of which are our sworn enemies. Our presence there now is like salt in a wound, or more like slapping someone around to get them to fight. It's more ammunition for the ones that hate us to remember us well.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 9, 2014 at 9:59am

The current situation in Iraq is ludicrous and insane. By America going back into it, even as bombing support, we will be helping forces that are really our enemies. Why? It's because this has become a civil war over there and it is all about conflicts within one religion that has 3 branches. It's not about "us" or anything to do with us. Obama felt the pressure put on him, and did something here because of the American political situation. It helps no one but maybe it might help Obama. None of it helps America "the great Satan."

We are past the time of the solution perhaps. To do it now we would have to go back into Iraq the way it was before the pullout. The solution should have pre-dated the Bush war there. According to Joe Biden that solution would have been to of divided Iraq into 3 regions run by 3 religious groups that are fighting right now. What other solution would there have been?

I'm not anti-Obama, and he has inherited a lot, but if we cannot fix this now, then we need to stay out of it. The country is in a civil war.

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