When Barack Obama considered making a bid for the White House he probably in his wildest imagination never thought that if he was successful his tools for governing would include a shovel. But it soon became clear that he would spend a lot of presidential time cleaning up other people’s mess.


From a near economic catastrophe to two wars, the president was side-tracked from much of his agenda. He tamed the economic bear and has been winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and even found time to push successfully for passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

But just when it seemed that Mr. Obama would be able to spend his final two years in office on his agenda, up comes the bogeyman Iraq once again and all his energies are being summoned again to deal with an international crisis that had its origins more than a decade ago when President George W. Bush decided on a war of choice, not necessity, and invaded that country.

With Iraq still very volatile after the president pulled American troops out and nearby Syria wracked by a protracted deadly civil war, the nightmare has come true with the dramatic arrival of the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syrian” (ISIS) or “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). This Sunni terrorist organization is capturing more and more territory in the Shiite-dominated Iraq and Syria and a religious war is threatening to erupt across the Middle East. So it is back to the shovel for the president. If the ISIL consolidates power and creates its own state, it could use it as a launching pad for attacks against American interests and the United States itself.

While Americans have strongly opposed United States involvement in Iraq, many in Congress strongly suggest that Mr. Obama authorize air strikes in addition to sending additional noncombat troops to assist Iraq in repelling ISIS. Others in Congress are aligned with a majority of the American people and propose no U.S. involvement at least until Iraq’s military, and the country, undertake every effort to mount a credible defense.

Unfortunately, America cannot wait for the embattled Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki to take the diplomatic steps that might quell the military onslaught of ISIS. Their plan of statehood includes governance by fear and death, annihilating Israel and, ultimately, pursuing jihad in the West.

Mr. Al-Maliki’s inept governance must not be allowed to determine America’s response to the threats to our nation and our interests.  Mr. President, act!