We used to do it all the time on Church Youth Retreats. You line up a long row of chairs and sit your group down in them. Somebody whispers a sentence into the ear of the person in the first chair, who then whispers it in the ear of the person in the second chair, and so forth. By the time the sentence is whispered in the ear of the person in the last chair, it sounds nothing like the original sentence.
The message that Obama and his Administration are communicating about how they are going to prosecute the “limited engagement” against ISIS/ISIL reminds me of the “Gossip Game”.
Let’s examine the Administration’s disjointed message, shall we?
September 11, 2014 – The New York Times reported that
After enduring harsh criticism for saying in a news conference two weeks ago that he did not have a strategy for dealing with ISIS in Syria, Mr. Obama sketched out a plan that will involve heightened American training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels to fight the militants. Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide bases for the training of those forces.
The White House has asked Congress to authorize the plan to train and equip rebels — something the Central Intelligence Agency has been doing covertly and on a much smaller scale — but Mr. Obama said he had the authority necessary to expand the broader campaign.
“These American forces will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” Mr. Obama pledged, adding that the broader mission he was outlining for American military forces “will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; it will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”
Setpember 16, 2014 – ABCnews.go.com reported that
American ground troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces in the Middle East if President Barack Obama’s current strategy fails, the nation’s top military officer said Tuesday as Congress plunged into an election-year debate of Obama’s plan to expand airstrikes and train Syrian rebels.
A White House spokesman said quickly the president “will not” send ground forces into combat, but Gen. Martin Dempsey said Obama had personally told him to come back on a “case by case basis” if the military situation changed.
“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He referred to the militants by an alternative name.
Pressed later by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the panel’s chairman, the four-star general said if Obama’s current approach isn’t enough to prevail, he might “go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of ground forces.”
Dempsey’s testimony underscored the dilemma confronting many lawmakers as the House moves through its own debate on authorizing the Pentagon to implement the policy Obama announced last week. In Iraq on Tuesday, the U.S. continued its expanded military campaign, carrying out two airstrikes northwest of Irbil and three southwest of Baghdad.
After the hearing, Dempsey told reporters traveling with him to Paris that the Pentagon had concluded that about half of Iraq’s army was incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group’s territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment.
September 17, 2014 – According to politico.com,
“U.S. ground troops will not be sent into combat in this conflict,” Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Instead, they will support Iraq forces on the ground as they fight for their country.”
…Kerry’s testimony comes as Congress races toward a critical vote to give the Obama administration the green light to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The House is set to vote on the measure later Wednesday, with the Senate to take up the legislation later this week. The measure has run into considerable opposition from both the right and the left but is expected to pass before lawmakers left Washington until after the midterm elections.
President Barack Obama reiterated earlier Wednesday in a speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, that he will not send U.S. combat troops to fight ISIL in Iraq, following testimony from Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey that opened the door to that option earlier this week.
And later during the Foreign Relations hearing, Kerry declined to move off that position, despite questioning from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whom Kerry told: “I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals.”
“The president has made a judgment as commander-in-chief that that’s not in the cards,” Kerry said, referring to ground troops.
Shortly before the hearing began before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, protesters from the anti- war group Code Pink – a prevalent sight on the Hill in recent days as lawmakers engaged in debate about arming Syrian rebels – stood up, held signs and chanted “No more war!”
Deviating from his prepared remarks, Kerry turned his attention to the protesters, seated in the front row of the hearing room, and told them that while he was sympathetic to their opposition to war, if they believed in the broader mission of Code Pink, “then you ought to care about fighting ISIL.”
Stressing that the Islamic State was “killing and raping and mutilating women” and “making a mockery of a peaceful religion,” Kerry told the protesters: “There is no negotiation with ISIL.”
Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) stressed that if the military campaign continues for an extended period of time – like he expects – lawmakers will need to pass a new authorization for the use of military force that focuses narrowly on ISIL. He signaled last week that the panel will begin drafting one.
“I am personally not comfortable with reliance on either the 2001 AUMF that relies on a thin theory that ISIL is associated with Al Qaeda, and certainly not the 2002 Iraq AUMF which relied on misinformation,” Menendez said.
Later as he questioned Kerry, Menendez told the secretary of state that “you’re going to need a new AUMF, and it’ll have to be more tailored.” Kerry responded that the administration would “welcome” it.
The panel’s top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, expressed deep skepticism about the Obama administration’s strategy to fight Islamic State extremists, telling Kerry: “We know the Free Syrian Army can’t take on ISIL. You know that.”
“I do want us to deal with this,” Corker told Kerry “You’ve not laid it out in a way that meets that test.”
Later in the day on September 17, 2014 – According to FoxNews.com,
The White House acknowledged Wednesday that President Obama would consider putting U.S. troops in “forward-deployed positions” to advise Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State — even while insisting U.S. troops would not be sent back into a “combat role” in Iraq.
Obama and his top advisers appeared to be threading a needle as they carefully clarified how exactly U.S. troops might be used, a day after Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey opened the door to approving “U.S. military ground forces.”
The White House continued to insist Wednesday that a “combat” role has in fact been ruled out, and that U.S. troops will not be engaging the Islamic State on the ground.
Speaking at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, after visiting U.S. Central Command, Obama told troops: “I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
He vowed that the U.S. forces currently deployed to Iraq to advise Iraqi forces “will not have a combat mission.” Instead, he said, they will continue to support Iraqi forces on the ground, through a combination of U.S. air power, training assistance and other means.
But shortly afterward, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified that Dempsey was talking about the possible need to put U.S. troops already in Iraq into “forward-deployed positions with Iraqi troops.”
Earnest said that step has not yet been necessary, but if Dempsey asks to “forward deploy” American advisers, “the president said he would consider it on a case-by-case basis.”
He said, in that scenario, U.S. troops “would be providing tactical advice to Iraqi security forces” or be in position to call in airstrikes.
“They would not have a combat role. They would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy,” Earnest stressed.
So, now, we will officially have “boots on the ground”, even though we already have “Military Advisors” in Iraq.
And, like our men and women already there, they will not be allowed to fight.
What next? Are they all going to have to dress in traditional Iraqi clothing?
What is this? Leadership by ‘three blind men describing an elephant”?
This is what happens when you have a President more interested in “fighting a war” against a disease breaking out in his father’s home country, than protecting the country that he is supposed to be leading, from Muslim Terrorists.
Years ago, the local ABC Affiliate in Memphis used to run The Benny Hill Show at 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays. For those of you sheltered younger readers, Benny Hill was a wonderful British comedian and entertainer. “The Lad Himself” wrote a lot of his own hilarious material, including such memorable characters as Cap’n Scuttle, and songs that would literally have you busting your gut in laughter. However, one of the things that Benny will forever be remembered for, happened at the end of every show, when one thing would lead to another, culminating in a rip-roaring chase scene, set to the saxophone-led accompaniment of the incomparable Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax”.
The chaotic manner in which the administration is attempting to “prosecute” the limited war against the Muslim Terrorist Group, now numbering almost 32,000 members, known as ISIS or ISIL, is very reminiscent of a Benny Hill Show Chase Scene.
Except…there’s nothing funny about it.
Until He Comes,