Well, golly, I can’t imagine why. What military force wouldn’t appreciate a little confidence-shattering announcement from its Commander in Chief in the face of a looming threat against the nation and its allies? AP included this clip from yesterday’s Meet the Press in his QOTD roundup last night, but it’s worth its own post:[youtube]http://youtu.be/YENGfHUKwKo[/youtube]
NBC’s Richard Engel offered this money quote:
Engel also reported that military commanders are “apoplectic” over the president’s inaction in Syria: “I speak to military commanders, I speak to former officials, and they are apoplectic. They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done.”
“One official said that this was a Freudian slip,” Engel continued, referring to Obama’s admission last week that he does not have a strategy yet for Syria. “That it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria, even when you have ISIS, which has effectively become a terrorist army, roughly 20,000 strong.”
That, however, deserves a little more context. The rise of ISIS has been no secret to the Pentagon or the White House — or anyone paying the least bit of attention, as Engel made clear:
“We reported about it. Reporters risked their lives going into Syria to talk about this buildup of extremists in the country, yet nothing seems to have been done. And now we have a very serious situation,” said Engel.
This is precisely why military commanders have become “apoplectic.” For the last couple of months, the White House has acted as though the metastasis of ISIS has come as a big surprise, but it hasn’t been for those whose eyes have not been purposefully shut to the danger. The collapse of the Iraqi military can’t have come as a total surprise, either; the Obama administration has made it clear for a long time that they have had serious concerns about the sectarian direction of the Nouri al-Maliki.
In other words, this was “entirely predictable,” as Engel says — and that suggests that Obama and his aides have deliberately ignored the problem. The Pentagon doesn’t have that luxury, though, and has to have made some proposals for strategies to deal with the threats. Defense Secretary called ISIS an “imminent threat” two weeks ago, for instance, and that much was obvious when the Iraqi army collapsed in the north a couple of months ago. The military presumably has developed a range of options for a strategy to take on ISIS, but need the White House to choose one. Telling the world from Martha’s Vineyard that Obama hasn’t figured out how to deal with ISIS must have had military planners at the Pentagon climbing the walls in frustration — or, as Engel put it, “apoplectic.”
If Obama were to admit to a clear and present danger posed by ISIS, he would have to do something and when HE does something, he has to fret and worry about it for months, balancing all the political implications to him, personally, before taking any action.
Now we know Obama was getting the security briefs for over a year, only he would not BE briefed on them, he took them and read them (so, I guess, no one can testify WHAT he knew). All about him, all about his “legacy”.
During the transition from Bush 43, there were too many stories of Obama being disinterested in national security matters. Instead of Obama stopping the brief to ask a question, it was GWB who stopped the brief to ask the questions. There were many instances when GWB asked, “Mr. President-Elect, do you have any questions?” Invariably, the reply was no.
The military has presumably developed a range of military options to take on ISIS. No doubt they’ve also worked up a range of such options to take on Russia, along with every other of our potential military rivals. The responsibility of the President of the United States goes beyond simply choosing one of the above, however. None of the above might sometimes be the smartest choice.
@Greg: Then just what makes him more qualified that the Military to achieve military objectives? The military developed a plan to rescue the journalist who was beheaded. Obama waited a month to enact the plan. By then, the intel that was the basis of the plan had been overcome by events. Obama does not have the capability to make rational decisions. You make the most ignorant assessments when you think Obama actually thinks about issues that affect the American People. He could care less about us. He just loves to look at himself in the mirror and solicit comments from the pet media about how smart he is. You continue to fall right into the same pit!
He’s Commander in Chief of the nation’s military forces. It’s his job to make those decisions.
Military tacticians develop contingency plans for all manner of hypothetical scenarios, as well as response plans relating to current real-world events. Not all such plans have equal merit or equal likelihood of success. In any case, the military doesn’t set the nation’s geopolitical goals. We’re not living under a military dictatorship.
Not all such assessments have equal merit, either. I think many on the right are so obsessed with their dislike for Obama that they can’t think objectively about domestic or international events.
@Greg: That doesn’t make him qualified! Wake up Greg. You live in a dream world that could get you killed one day. No threats about immigration. Ebola can not be transmitted person to person unless there are open wounds> You are wrong an most everything. Did you see that Ebola has already evolved into a new strain?
You mean like how FDR sat at a table, with a long pointer, and moved all those little ships around the oceans and then told Admiral Nimitz “There, that should work. No go do it.” Or how FDR spent endless nights planning the invasion of Normandy so that he could give instructions on how to do it to Eisenhower?
No, Greggie. A competent CIC allows those trained in the art of warfare to do their jobs, just as he should be doing his, but in the case of Obama, is not.
I am constantly amazed at how you have blinders on when it comes to the incompetence of Obama. You are obviously still banking on the whole “Hope and change” campaign slogan, when in reality that slogan has as much meaning as “I like Ike.”
So here we are, almost six years into the Obama disaster, and what has he achieved? Egypt? The Arab Spring was going to be one of his great achievements with no chance that the Muslim Brotherhood would take over that country. Ooooops, first rattle out of the box they got Morsi. Now Egypt distrusts Obama and treats him like the rich uncle that is tolerated on Thanksgiving only to make sure he continues to send them a check.
Libya? Another stellar achievement of Obama. Syria? Assad is still in power, and Obama doesn’t even know who the good guys are in Syria but wants to arm FSA and other groups anyway. I guess he thinks that whole Dictator Removal Plan worked out so well in Libya that we should do it again. ISIS (which Obama can’t bring himself to name so he calls it ISIL)? Pure JV. Nothing to see here, move on. Never mind that he has been aware (assuming he even reads the PDBs) that it was building for four years. I’m sure his lackeys are trying to figure out a way to tie that to George Bush although Bush had been gone for a year and a half when ISIS (formerly Al Qaeda in Iraq) formed. Just one problem, the Obama administration is going to have to admit that Al Qaeda WAS in Iraq when we went to war there, or that it formed under a new name under Obama. Man, that’s gonna be a tough call. Either way, it makes Obama look clueless.
And then there is all that new found respect coming from across the pond as the British press skewers Obama and David Cameron makes Obama look like the JV.
But you hang in there. You continue to believe the hopey change rhetoric. You keep thinking that a community organizer is anything but that. And as we have more Fort Hoods and more Boston Marathons because Obama is, how does the left wing media put it? Oh, that’s right; detached, aloof, distant, overly cautious. Perhaps you can hang on to your Obamacare acceptance letter as the rest of us are trying to figure out how to stay safe with the Golfer In Chief.