Success in Iraq
Here are the relevant details. ISIS/Islamic State forces, extremist Sunni Muslim fanatics who have already committed atrocities against Christians and Shiite Muslims in the areas they control, recently captured the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, whose population was mostly Yazidis. The Yazidis are a small Kurdish-speaking group who practice a secretive religion which is mostly derived from Zoroastrianism, but which many Muslims consider a form of devil-worship.
ISIS/Islamic State had openly declared its intention to wipe out the Yazidis, so most of the population of Sinjar fled to a nearby highland where they have been exposed to the roasting heat of an Iraqi summer, without shelter or water. Almost immediately the weak, the elderly, and small children began dying. ISIS/Islamic State was relentless, killing all the Yazidis they could catch, except for several hundred women whom they seized alive for purposes unknown but perhaps easily guessed. The situation had all the signs of an imminent genocide.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters set out to reach the Yazidi refugees and rescue them, but could not make headway against the ISIS/Islamic State forces controlling the surrounding area. Obama authorized American airstrikes against ISIS/Islamic State positions to weaken them and facilitate the advance of the Peshmerga. No American forces on the ground were even considered.
It worked. The Peshmerga have now forced the fanatics back and opened the way for the Yazidi refugees to escape.
Rather than just throw up his hands and dismiss the situation as an incomprehensible mess, as too many bloggers do when it comes to the Middle East, Obama analyzed the situation, set a goal, chose a tactic appropriate to achieving it, and ordered our forces into action. The tactic worked, the goal was achieved, and he helped save the lives of about five thousand people, without a single American soldier being put at risk on the ground. This is what can be done when American power is guided by informed intelligence instead of blind rah-rah arrogance that would rather just blow everything up than take the trouble to understand it.
And spare a thought, too, for the Peshmerga, the men who did do the hard and dangerous work of fighting on the ground to save members of a despised minority. The word Peshmerga translates as "those who face death". They do.