There seems to be growing momentum among US politicians from both parties in favor of direct military intervention on behalf of the Iraqi government, with President Obama saying he won't rule out anything that might aid Prime Minister Maliki.
that's going to mean air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which has taken several major cities across northern and western Iraq now, and seems to be routing the Iraqi Army wherever they find them.
Iraq has been requesting air strikes for awhile, but it seems the recent collapse of their defenses is what is finally convincing the US to seriously to the idea. The administration is now said to be "urgently" considering air strikes.
It is unclear, however, what good the air strikes will really do, as Iraqi forces don't seem to be engaged in pitched battles with AQI where air support might turn the tide in their favor. Rather, they seem to be fleeing virtually the moment they are engaged, so at best the air strikes might slow the rate of AQI advance.