Yesterday President Obama sent a request to Congress to authorize the use of military force against ISIS who has created a country in parts of Syria and Iraq. During their land grab ISIS has murdered American, British and Japanese hostages and killed many civilians.
The debate on Obama’s request to Congress is in full swing. Some suggest that he should have requested the authorization when he initiated the current limited bombing campaign against ISIS. Others are concerned about mission creep that often accompanies authorizations. Still others feel that the authorization is not broad enough or that the President has not come up with a goal and/or strategy for the military campaign.
While the above debate is necessary, it masks a more serious issue concerning President Obama’s exhibited skills as Commander-in-Chief of the military. In January 2014, only 13 months ago, Obama showed a total lack of understanding of ISIS, its ability, or threats. When asked about ISIS’s and its gains Obama compared them to the JVs stating: ‘The analogy we use around here sometimes and is accurate is if a JV team puts on Laker uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
How do they go from being JV to one of the most dangerous terrorist forces in the world in less than a year? The answer is that they were not JV when Obama made the inappropriate comparison. It was obvious than that ISIS was a much greater threat. Since then Obama has been slowly ramping up not only his perception of the ISIS threat, as well as increasing the use of military force against them. This has culminated in his current request to Congress.
Why did the President get the ISIS threat so wrong? It could not have been lack of intelligence given the gains they already made in Syria and Iraq. It is likely that Obama did what he so often does; ignore reality and dither.
This is not the first time the President made the wrong call on Iraq. His miscues include:
Opposing Iraqi Surge – As a senator, Obama opposed President Bush’s surge stating: “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse. I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there. So I am going to actively oppose the president’s proposal.” History proved Obama wrong. The surge worked.
Withdrawing all Troops from Iraq – Since before being elected president, Obama made a commitment to withdraw all American troops from Iraq quickly. This has been a cornerstone to his policies and politics since, ignoring potential consequences. His statements include:
- “….. with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008.”
- “If we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.”
- “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”
- “Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
Adding an explanation point to his promise to get out of Iraq, Obama said in the fall of 2012: “I said I’d end the war in Iraq, I ended it”. It is evident that Obama did not end the war in Iraq. Instead, by withdrawing all assets he left a power vacuum that has been filled by Islamic terrorists. Now he is forced to reintroduce assets from a degraded strategic position and at greater cost. The request for authorization to use military force in Iraq includes:
“The President is authorized, subject to the limitations in subsection (c), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces as defined in section.” … This is a broad authorization. The request proves that Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq was premature and led to increased violence in that country, as well as the greater region, and now requires that the United States go back in to clean up the mess.
Obama’s naïve view of America’s role in the world, foreign policy and the Middle East is now apparent. He came into office believing that by merely changing the way we project power will improve not only America’s worldwide stature, but are security. These conclusions have been proven fallacious. The Middle East is more dangerous to American interests than it has been in modern history. In addition, America has thrown so many allies under the bus in the past six years that are stature worldwide has declined. Incredibly, President Obama continues to maintain that his policies have been successful. This is either an indication of delusionary thinking or blatant misrepresentation.