Posted by Curt on 1 September, 2014 at 12:01 pm. 7 comments already!


Ed Morrissey:

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:


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.”

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