Susan Walsh, File, Associated Press
FILE - May 28, 2014, file photo shows President Barack Obama as he arrives to deliver the commencement address to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's Class of 2014, in West Point, N.Y. As Obama makes the case for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, he’s drawing on a use of force doctrine he outlined less than three months ago, when the potential for deploying the military overseas appeared to be something he was trying to avoid. In a May speech at the U.S. Military Academy, Obama said he would use military force under two scenarios: a direct threat against Americans or U.S. interests and a humanitarian crisis on a scale that he said would “stir the conscience.”

WASHINGTON — In making the case for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, President Barack Obama is drawing on the doctrine involving the use of force that he outlined less than three months ago.

The president said in a late May speech at the U.S. Military Academy that he would use military force under two scenarios.

One was a direct threat against Americans. The second was a humanitarian crisis on a scale that he said would "stir the conscience."

Obama is now arguing that both conditions have been met in Iraq.

The deteriorating situation in Iraq does appear to fall within Obama's parameters for military action.

Yet the shift from a theoretical argument for the use of force to actually using force will test the scope and application of Obama's doctrine.