Once more, the West's warplanes are flying over Iraq. As ever, we are presented with a choice of black or white: the do nothing option or the use of armed force. Far from clear that the spectrum of other options has been exhausted.
As for the war aims, is there an acceptable achievable outcome? Or an exit strategy? The Guardian records:
Air power alone seldom results in a comprehensive victory. Over the last few weeks, all the US air strikes have succeeded in doing is largely stopping the expansion of Isis. Apart from the vital Mosul dam – which Kurdish and Iraqi army forces retook with help from US planes – Isis basically still holds the same territory as it did at the start of US bombing.
In the end, defeat of Isis requires troops on the ground. Neither the US nor Britain wants to put combat troops back into Iraq, so they are relying on the Kurdish peshmerga and the Iraqi army to do the fighting on the ground – neither of which has shown any sign that they are capable.