So overnight the crisis on Mount Sinjar is, well, over. The president's vacation may now continue uninterrupted by videos on CNN of kids being tossed into helicopters that land briefly, are overwhelmed by a mob, and fly away with a cohort of sobbing women and children. The world's media has been dismissed by U.S. officials speaking on background to the New York Times. No more fall of Saigon analogies please!
The Times' references to "the secret team of Marines and Special Operations forces [that] were already on Mount Sinjar, in the middle of a 24-hour trip to talk to the displaced people and pesh merga fighters" and to planning for a "corridor of escape...which would have been guarded primarily by pesh merga fighters and backed by some American troops" hinted at the reality that American ground troops are already operating against IS from Kurdistan and within western Iraq just as American planes have been striking at the new caliph's front line fighters. The key to understanding what is going on here is that the president and his team cannot admit that the ground troops are there, even as they are loathe to provide the details of airstrikes or release the footage of IS fighters getting blown up.