Because let’s face it, he was dragged kicking and screaming into this war against his stated will. We’re witnessing the equivalent of the People were the cart while the president was the horse, to use his idiom.
Many a president are flagging at this point in their second term. Some have been saved by their hawkish resolve and others have cemented their legacy with diplomatic achievements late in their second term. Is his willingness to finally fight ISIS Obama’s hail Mary to save his legacy? Only time will tell.
I hate to be a cynic, I really do, and hope I’m wrong because I want what’s best for the country like everyone else. He deserves a lot of credit for getting five Arab countries to step up to their home field plate as they should since some have been complicit in cultivating the very homegrown terrorists they are now bombing.
But the telltale signs are blaring at us that he isn’t trusted by Americans nor by the Left or the Right to wage a proper war, meaning one with a clear goal and one that he can win (let alone one that is legal).
On the Left, they’re surprisingly silent on giving him more power to wage war when typically it’s against their core principles, or so it used to be, when a Republican was in office.
On the Right, the conservative wing of the Party wants nothing to do with Obama’s war because they don’t trust him to wage it properly and the centrist wing says he’s leading from behind.
However, many in Congress on both sides of the aisle wanted to vote on a new AUMF claiming the 2001 one is not applicable, especially since it makes no mention of Syria. Tragically, We the People don’t even get a voice in this overseas contingency operation aka war.
It’s a very strange upside down world but predictable if one understands it’s all politics, all the time with this president. Unlike GWB who wrote the AUMF and got bipartisan Congressional approval, this president didn’t even ask for one claiming to have the authority in order to spare the Senate Democrats from political fallout but more importantly himself if it wasn’t granted. Again, unlike GWB, Mr. Global Citizen himself declared he his doesn’t need a UN resolution to wage war.
Consider the definition of war From Merriam-Webster dictionary :
1 a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) : a period of such armed conflict (3) : state of warb : the art or science of warfarec (1) obsolete : weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2 a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonismb : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end <a class war> <a war against disease>
Obamawar, –noun:1- pinprick actions disguised as aggression to appease a political party2– a Commander in Chief that is reluctant to wage war until the crisis point(see also leading from behind)
Obama considers himself the peacenik president that would end the rise of the ocean and heal the planet and make peace with the Muslim world. He won the Nobel Peace prize, albeit prematurely once it was disclosed he personally had a kill list and authorized strikes. And now we find out that he will be the next LBJ and personally approve and direct all strikes in Syria. This too will end badly if he persists on a fool’s errand while beating his frail chest.
In 2012 after announcing the war in Iraq was over, Al-Qaida was defeated and the tide of war in Afghanistan had turned, he said it was “now time to focus on nation building here at home”. Seemly satisfied that he completed his foreign policy objectives of ending wars and killing OBL, he turned back to domestic policy as if the two were mutually exclusive. Until now, when he simply can’t turn a blind eye to the evil of ISIS and must return to foreign policy.
But don’t be fooled by his latest actions. The fact is, he has no intention of waging a war that will defeat ISIS thus his carefully chosen word, degrade. That word is there for a reason so he can say he did degrade them and that’s what he promised the American people.
He said destroy but not eliminate and just yesterday we learned that U.S. airstrikes destroyed four, yes only 4, ISIS vehicles/tanks in Iraq. And after nearly 40 days of strikes, he’s allowed less than 200 bombs to be dropped. That hardly counts as a fully engaged campaign to even degrade ISIS!
Besides his abject failure to act before ISIS became a crisis, here are a few more obvious signs that he is not interested in getting dragged back into the Middle East to defeat ISIS and would prefer to continue his focus on his domestic agenda before his time runs out.
-I’ve never witnessed such a demoralized decorated military man as I did today. Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr. Director for Operations, J-3 lead a press conference to detail last night’s combat missions. If you saw it, you’d know that the slides of before and after were like playing Hocus-Focus where you have to find 6 very subtle differences between two pictures. Meaning, they took out a communications equipment on top of two ISIS buildings but left the buildings intact. Unbelievable.
-The Lt. General also stated that the goal was to create space for Iraqi and Kurd forces to re-organize and re-load to go on offense against ISIS, not to degrade them with a massive bomb effort. He must know that these two forces can’t possibly defeat ISIS, no?
-Our Sec. of State has repeatedly stated that the biggest threat we face in this world is climate change, which is a bigger threat than Ebola and ISIS. Maybe we can arm climate change to fight ISIS.
-Obama has sent more troops into harms way to fight Ebola than he has to fight ISIS (see war definition part 2b, a war against disease).
-This admin will not secure the borders, take away passports of known citizens that fight with ISIS who they say are here now, nor put troops on our own borders.
-And finally, here’s a two-fer to fight climate change and make peace. The admin announced a jobs program last week to train 50,000 veterans to become solar panel installers in the next six years.
The only thing that is a sure bet is the president is still focused like a laser on his domestic policy and wishes the world events would leave him alone. He will appear to be engaged militarily to fight ISIS but for how long?
His attention span for foreign policy seems miniscule compared to the actual threats we face as a nation and he rarely engages Americans on protracted actions abroad such as the progress in Afghanistan. Hopefully this time will be different but I’m not holding my breath and think we’ll get more speeches on the war on climate change than a real war.
*I have come to despise that phrase along with boots on the ground. Just say dropping bombs and troops on the ground.