President Obama has committed the United States to another open-ended Middle East war in which the potential for doing harm rivals the possibility of doing good.

That’s the bottom line from Obama’s sober address to the nation. The president made his decision cautiously, reluctantly, even painfully. But make no mistake: The pledge to “destroy” the Islamic State is a long-term commitment, and success will depend on a host of partners that may be unreliable.

The biggest winner is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who must have broken out the champagne when the president finished speaking Wednesday night. Obama’s stated policy is that Assad must go, but U.S. military action now promises to make it easier for him to stay.

Expanding the U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State into Syria is meant to inflict serious damage on the most capable rebel force seeking to oust Assad’s brutal regime. As Islamic State militants are forced to evacuate territory they now hold, Assad’s army will move in. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog