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BC Expert: Iraq Crisis

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Marc Landy

Marc Landy
Professor of Political Science
Boston College
781 856-6580 (cell)

Professor Landy is a leading expert on the U.S. presidency, from election to office. He is the co-author of several books including Presidential Greatness, the textbook, American Government: Balancing Liberty and DemocracyEnvironmental Protection Agency From Nixon to Clinton: Asking the Wrong Questions; and American Politics: The Enduring Conflict. He is a frequent commentator and has appeared on BBC, NPR, and in Associated Press, and USA Today as well as various other publications and television news shows.


As the humanitarian drama continues to unfold in Northern Iraq where thousands of displaced Yazidi refugees are stranded on a mountain surrounded by ISIS forces, the United States’ consideration of a full scale rescue needs to be accompanied by a policy for the region, says a Boston College political scientist.

“He’s got to save these people - it’s a wise move,” says Boston College Political Science Professor Marc Landy. “Humanitarian aid is fine but it doesn’t add up to a policy. President Obama may be developing a policy in Iraq for all we know but the key is, he’s got to explain to the American people that what is developing in Iraq is not simply a case of where we’re going to respond on an ad hoc basis to alleviate human misery – that’s not a policy.”

For the past week US military cargo planes have been dropping supplies to the dying refugees trapped on the barren mountain surrounded by ISIS fighters who want to inflict genocide on this religious minority. A rescue operation would widen the mission the president spoke about last week, when he announced the air campaign would be limited in scope and duration.   

“President Obama has no choice but to widen the scope,” says Landy, a presidential expert and co-author of the book, Presidential Greatness. “The question is does he do it intelligently in bringing the American people along on this or does he pretend that this is about philanthropy and human charity? This is about a circumstance in that region we cannot avoid.

“Things were not going great in Iraq but there was a kind of stalemate amongst the different parties which may not be attractive but it doesn’t necessarily speak to fundamental national security interests. But now you have ISIS driven by religious zealotry that has a willingness to exterminate people. You really can’t live with that. The real story is, how do we respond to these dreadful reversals that are going on now in Iraq and in that whole region that ISIS is coming to dominate. This is a major challenge to American interests, to American national security. Not only does the president need to formulate policy, but he needs to articulate it.”



Media Note: Contact information for additional Boston College faculty sources on a range of subjects is available at: /offices/pubaf/journalist/experts.html


Sean Hennessey
Associate Director
Office of News and Public Affairs
Boston College

(617) 552-3630 (office)
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