The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian – President Barack Hussein Obama, The New Yorker Magazine, January 2014
Fox News reports that
President Obama took heat Monday for admitting he doesn’t yet have a “complete strategy” in hand for training Iraqis to fight the Islamic State — months into the coordinated campaign to defeat the deadly terrorist network.
“When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people,” Obama said, adding, “We don’t yet have a complete strategy.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said in a statement: “It is no surprise this administration does not have a ‘complete strategy’ for training Iraqis to fight ISIS. What is surprising is that the president admitted it.”
The president addressed the ISIS fight during a press conference on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany. He appeared to be speaking specifically to a new strategy for accelerating the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. “We’re reviewing a range of plans for how we might do that,” Obama said.
A U.S. official afterward stressed to Fox News that Obama was indeed talking only about optimizing that train-and-equip mission, “including integration of Sunni fighters,” and not “overall strategy.” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke also said Obama was not speaking to overall strategy.
But the comments nevertheless fueled critics’ concerns about the direction of the U.S. mission, particularly on the heels of ISIS gains in Ramadi, and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tweeted: “Pres Obama admits: ‘We don’t yet have a complete strategy’ to combat #ISIS”
Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short cited a similar comment Obama made 10 months ago, saying in a statement, “the fact he still doesn’t have a final plan for the deteriorating situation in Iraq is unacceptable.”
A military official also took issue with Obama’s claim that he was waiting for options from the Pentagon. “What the f— was that? We have given him lots of options, he just hasn’t acted on them,” the official told Fox News.
Obama, similarly, said last August that the U.S. did not “have a strategy yet” for confronting ISIS in Syria. The administration later approved airstrikes in Syria.
Underscoring the work to be done training Iraqi forces, a Pentagon official told Fox News that zero soldiers are being trained at the al-Asad Air Base in Anbar — the province where ISIS seized the city of Ramadi last month.
However, the Pentagon says 2,598 are in training at other locations in Iraq. And 8,920 Iraqi soldiers have been trained to date by the U.S. military.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren backed up the president on his assertion he was still awaiting a “finalized plan” from the Pentagon. He said Defense Secretary Ash Carter has assembled a group of “experts” to develop courses of action to “increase support” to Iraqi forces. Warren would not give a timeline on when this “finalized plan” would be presented to the White House.
A separate defense official told Fox News that any potential increases in the size of the U.S. military presence would likely be in the “train-and-equip” mission and not tactical air controllers to call in close air support against ISIS forces by U.S. aircraft flying overhead.
Echoing the president, the official said, “the problem is the number of recruits” that the U.S. military can train. “We are sending weapons as quickly as we can to Iraq, I don’t think we can send anymore,” he said.
Obama put some of the responsibility on the Iraqis themselves, urging them to be more inclusive. Speaking Monday, shortly after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Obama said a “big part” of the solution is “outreach to Sunni tribes.”
“We’ve seen Sunni tribes who are not only willing and prepared to fight ISIL, but have been successful at rebuffing ISIL. But it has not been happening as fast as it needs to,” he said. “And so, one of the efforts that I’m hoping to see out of Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi legislature when they’re in session is to move forward on a national guard law that would help to devolve some of the security efforts in places like Anbar to local folks and to get those Sunni tribes involved more rapidly.”
A little over 47 years ago, another Democrat American President was waging a limited war in a foreign land with the help of a coalition. He also decided to go in for the American people to explain how he was prosecuting a “limited” war.
On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave an “Address to the Nation Announcing Steps To Limit the War in Vietnam and Reporting His Decision Not To Seek Reelection”.
Here’s an excerpt:
Tonight, I have ordered our aircraft and our naval vessels to make no attacks on North Vietnam, except in the area north of the demilitarized zone where the continuing enemy buildup directly threatens allied forward positions and where the movements of their troops and supplies are clearly related to that threat.
The area in which we are stopping our attacks includes almost 90 percent of North Vietnam’s population, and most of its territory. Thus there will be no attacks around the principal populated areas, or in the food-producing areas of North Vietnam.
Even this very limited bombing of the North could come to an early end–if our restraint is matched by restraint in Hanoi. But I cannot in good conscience stop all bombing so long as to do so would immediately and directly endanger the lives of our men and our allies. Whether a complete bombing halt becomes possible in the future will be determined by events.
Our purpose in this action is to bring about a reduction in the level of violence that now exists.
It is to save the lives of brave men–and to save the lives of innocent women and children. It is to permit the contending forces to move closer to a political settlement.
And tonight, I call upon the United Kingdom and I call upon the Soviet Union–as cochairmen of the Geneva Conferences, and as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council–to do all they can to move from the unilateral act of deescalation that I have just announced toward genuine peace in Southeast Asia.
Now, as in the past, the United States is ready to send its representatives to any forum, at any time, to discuss the means of bringing this ugly war to an end.
I am designating one of our most distinguished Americans, Ambassador Averell Harriman, as my personal representative for such talks. In addition, I have asked Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson, who returned from Moscow for consultation, to be available to join Ambassador Harriman at Geneva or any other suitable place–just as soon as Hanoi agrees to a conference.
I call upon President Ho Chi Minh to respond positively, and favorably, to this new step toward peace.
But if peace does not come now through negotiations, it will come when Hanoi understands that our common resolve is unshakable, and our common strength is invincible.
Tonight, we and the other allied nations are contributing 600,000 fighting men to assist 700,000 South Vietnamese troops in defending their little country.
Our presence there has always rested on this basic belief: The main burden of preserving their freedom must be carried out by them–by the South Vietnamese themselves.
We and our allies can only help to provide a shield behind which the people of South Vietnam can survive and can grow and develop. On their efforts–on their determination and resourcefulness–the outcome will ultimately depend.
Of course, we all remember how the Vietnam War ended…with the last American Military Helicopter bugging out of Saigon as the Communist Regime of North Vietnam took over the country.
Like me, you have probably heard it said, time and time again, that “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
Evidently, Obama did not study the Vietnam War in his Indonesian Madrassa, Hawaiian High School, Columbia, or Harvard.
If he did, he did not pay attention to the mistakes that were made, because what we saw unfold in Libya, and are currently seeing unfold in Iraq, follow a pattern reminiscent of the beginning of “that Crazy Asian War” (with apologies to Kenny Rogers and Mel Tillis).
However, we don’t have to go back to the Vietnam War to experience the failure of an American “Limited Engagement”.
Obama already has a failed “Limited Engagement” on his Presidential Resume. As I write this blog, Radical Muslims are still swimming in the US Embassy pool in Libya, while 11 airplanes have been missing for months from the Libyan Airport.
Let’s face facts.
During his presidency Obama has reached out to adherents of the “Religion of Peace”, addressing them shortly after his first Inauguration at the University of Cairo, in a conciliatory speech, setting a milksop tone for his Foreign Policy, which after its full implementation, has turned out, at the hands of Obama and his two Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, to be a miserable failure.
An ineffective President Barack Hussein Obama is looking like a fool to a world who used to look to America as a bastion of strength and freedom, not weakness and political expediencies.
President Barack Hussein Obama has placed us in untenable position with his weak and vacillating Smart Power Foreign Policy.
Those who used to cringe in their desert tents, while calling us the Great Satan, now laugh in our faces as they walk across our southern borders with the rest of the illegal immigrants.
That is, if Obama simply does not invite them to the White House and meet with them, as he has the Muslim Brotherhood.
As ISIS’ march across the Middle East continues, I am certain that we will continue to hear the same rhetoric and failed “Smart Power!” Foreign Policy Strategy coming from “the smartest person in the room”.
At a time when we need “Ronnie Ray-gun”, we’re stuck with Steve Urkel.
Until He Comes,