The US very much wants to exit Iraq. Why? Because it is rather clear that no one in Iraq endorses the official US policy of developing a peaceful unified Iraqi state. Then came ISIS. A radical group invaded Iraq from Syria and took over large swaths of Sunni areas in the west. What to do? Well, nothing. Because the US still felt that it had no friends in the region. Ooops
This ignores one group that has been the friend of the US from the beginning — the kurds. The kurds are pro US and friendly to western influences in general. The problem is that they do not want a strongly centralized Iraqi state. They want an independent Kurdistan. So even though the US likes the kurds and perhaps even needs the kurds, the US has not really embraced kurdish ambitions. Until now.
Now ISIS is threatening the kurdish region. ISIS would wipe out any and all groups that do not support their quest, including but not limited to the kurds. So what to do?
There is little doubt about what needs to be done. The US must bail out the kurds. The US must stop ISIS from destroying a US friend. Or the US will be humiliated and isolated in the region. That means more than surgical strikes against ISIS mortar positions. These are just the start. The US is headed back into Iraq in order to help the only friends that we we have there.
And this is what managing conflict requires. You need friends. So while I may not like it. I understand that at this stage, the US has no option. We need to go back in with a different mission. To bail out our friends.