After months of Obama either poo-pooing ISIS as a Junior Varsity or ignoring the threat completely (I don’t have a Plan,) he delivers a speech (text here) to the nation in prime time on Wednesday. It’s notable in a number of ways: it’s short, less than 15 minutes. He actually seemed to elicit emotion: “We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.” ISIL is his favored moniker, but only initials; he refuses to use the word Islamic, although he did say that ISIL calls itself the ‘Islamic State,’ but asserts that ISIL is not Islamic and denies they are a state.. ISIS/L demands adherence to Sharia Law under penalty of death of its troops and subjects. If that’s not Islamic, nothing is.
In other ways, the speech was typical Obama: incoherent at times, illogical, and too often, factually wrong. I’ve picked out some illustrative points:
“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.” As of this evening, the Coalition consists of the Iraqi army, for better or worse; the Kurdish Peshmerga, good fighters; and the Syrian Free Army, the so-called non-al Qaeda forces battling Assad, to be trained in Saudi Arabia and equipped by the US. Remember that for 3 years, Obama has refused to arm the SFA to assist in overthrowing Assad. There are currently no other boots of other countries signed on and the signals from the Arab League are discouraging. Saudi Arabia has tried unsuccessfully to get Obama involved in Syria for 3 years. They don’t trust him. More on this below.
“In Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition.” Ramped up” means we’ve been providing “military assistance?” What, since when and under what aegis? Not Congressional; not Obama unitlaterally.
“This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” Yemen and Somalia are both failed states and taking out a few bad guys in that context is not even close to a success.
Toward the end, he had to throw in the faux accomplishments, such as, ”
“And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future.” Oh? He must mean Libya and Egypt.
What can go wrong? Nobody shows up to help and the Iraqis fail again. There’s lots more here and here and beyond.
Obama’s biggest problems, however, are 1. that nobody but his domestic cult followers believe him and they’re anti war: he’s lost all credibility, and, 2. he doesn’t have the will, doesn’t believe in in the mission, so the first setback may have him turning tail. These characteristics are incompatible with leadership.