You have to hand it to those beasts, otherwise known as Islamic State. Let's face facts, it takes some incredibly outlandish barbarism to get the French military involved in a war and they've managed to do it.
Earlier today the AP reported two French fighter-bombers flew a sortie over northern Iraq and bombed an IS controlled ammo and fuel depot. The amount of damage and the number of IS casualties as a result of the raid is still a little muddled, however the political significance is hard to miss. It is the first combat mission conducted by someone other than the Iraqis themselves, the Kurds, or the United States.
Of course French president Francios Hollande may have less than altruistic motives for laying four laser guided bombs into a nest of deadly loons. His handling of the French economy is wildly unpopular at home and the only time his approval ratings go up is when he takes military action, like he did in Mali, Central African Republic, and Libya. Nothing quite like war stokes the patriotic fires and takes the collective national mind off of things like long term unemployment and bankrupt pension plans.
Meanwhile the IS continues to prove to the world that someone should be bombing the living shit out of them. The AP is also reporting the outfit is busy destroying ancient archaeological sites for heresy, fun, and profit. According to the story, IS controls at least 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered historical sites, some as old as 3,000 years. The report states many of the curators and researchers have been run out of museums and places like the grand palace of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II on the grounds they were protecting idols.
While some of the bas relief artwork has been destroyed, chunks of it, along with other artifacts have been stolen from the sites and sold on the black market. Hey, everyone needs to make a buck and IS might be many evil things, but no one will ever accuse them of being communists. Unfortunately, while practically everyone west of Aleppo hates these mutants more than a few art collectors who have less than exemplary morals won't mind buying things like a 2,500 year old Babylonian vase from their sales reps. After all, business is business, not to mention that piece will look really great next to the Monet landscape stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis in 1938.
Proving they aren't just fixated on eradicating the accomplishments of ancient civilizations, the AP points out Islamic State is also gleefully destroying Shiite mosques and shrines simply because--well-- they are Shiite mosques and shrines. That's right, baby. Once you go all in, never flinch, no matter what you do.
Over here, Wild Bill Clinton went on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" and said he supported Barack Obama's plan in Iraq which, to most of us, remains more of a theory than actual policy. He told Stewart the United States, "...can't win a ground war in Iraq, but they can." It is unclear how Billy Jeff came to that conclusion since the Iraq army hasn't won anything since they rolled into Kuwait in 1990.
So here is what we know. First, both Obama and Hollande claim there won't be any American, or French troops on the ground. Second, since the airplane was introduced into warfare about 100 years ago absolutely no one has won a major conflict solely because of air superiority. Third, does anyone alive on this planet really think the Iraqi army can beat these psychopaths in a face to face fight?
I didn't think so.
U.S. ground troops are going in. Right now everyone is denying it, but there can be no doubt we are. America, welcome to Iraq, part III.
Ladies and gentleman, for obvious reasons, the bar is open.