Not Impressed by President Obama's ISIS Message
Believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to a presidential speech that I could get excited about. I was hoping that President Obama would prove me wrong and go to Congress for a war resolution.
Unfortunately, we got a speech telling our enemies what we would and would not do. It's like the baseball manager who tells the other team that he is not bunting or taking the extra base or pitching inside.
You can't play baseball like that. You can't fight a war like that, either.
Sadly, Charles Krauthammer is right. The speech was all about politics:
And beyond the strategy’s halfhearted substance is its author’s halfhearted tone. Obama’s reluctance and ambivalence are obvious.
This is a man driven to give this speech by public opinion. It shifted radically with the televised beheading of two Americans. Every poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly want something to be done — and someone to lead the doing.
Hence Wednesday’s speech. Its origins were more political than strategic. Its purpose was to save the wreckage of a presidency at its lowest ebb. (If this were a parliamentary democracy, Obama would lose a vote of non-confidence and be out of office.) Its point was to give the appearance of firmness and purpose, i.e., leadership.
You could sense that Obama had been dragged unwillingly into this new unproclaimed war. Which was reminiscent of Obama’s speech five years ago announcing the surge in Afghanistan.
In the very next sentence, he announced a fixed date of withdrawal. Then added, lest anyone miss his lack of enthusiasm, “The nation that I’m most interested in building is our own.”
Meaning, not Afghanistan.
At the time, I called it the most uncertain trumpet ever sounded by a president summoning the country to war.
I fear the campaign against the Islamic State will be a reprise.
As the father of a young man in the U.S. Army, I wish that our commander in chief had his heart in the mission or would speak more clearly. Our young men and women in the armed forces deserve better.