It’s one thing when your administration wanders off the messaging of the day on occasion. But, what should the take away be when nearly every critical part of the administration is on a different page from the President? U.N Ambassador Samantha Powers was on a different rhetorical page about Russia, speaking at the U.N.; she was much tougher on Russia than the President.
The Press Conference, now nearly common knowledge, where Secretary of Defense Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Dempsey demonstrated a different position than the President. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was contradicted the following day. Press Secretary Josh Earnest received 4 Pinocchio’s from The Washington Post as he did his utmost to spin the January, ISIS/JV interview.
It has to be exceptionally difficult for the White House staff to keep up. Yesterday, the President scanned through three different approaches to ISIS in one Press Conference; from “destroy” to “manage”. On the other hand Vice President Biden was condemning ISIS to the Gates of Hell and committed us to follow them there; just a bit of difference between that and “managing” ISIS. Perhaps Messrs. Biden and Obama have a different definition as to where the “Gates of Hell” are: lately, for the President, that would seem to be any and all Presidential news conferences.
The Military and the Intelligence Community have pushed back against the President. Catherine Herridge reports on Presidential Daily Briefings going back to January, specifically addressing ISIS; briefings occurred absent follow up questions from the President. Pentagon spokesmen, Admiral John Kirby has done his best to both support both the President and to insure that we know the Military is on the job, there are plans; there may not be a strategy but there are applicable tactics and operational planning, there always are, it’s what the Pentagon does. Why is this not even more of an issue than it is? Simple answer, the networks did not pick up Herridge’s report! There is additional push back from a variety of other sources, reported on this site.
The President is at war! He is at war with himself! Three positions on the issue of the day in a single news conference is evidence that the war in the President’s head is at a stalemate; so committed to global community organizing he appears incapable of expeditious decision making. Perhaps the politics of renaming things to avoid any evidence as to their true nature has gummed up the President’s neural connections.
Danger always lies in wait when the true nature of a thing cannot be recognized and it’s name cannot pass your lips. Absent recognition of what you face, in this case Radical Islam in the form of ISIS, you cannot design effective strategy. The world as it is, wages war against the world as it is wished to be. The world of wishes appears to be dominated by the belief that Islam is a religion of peace in all its aspects, that ISIS can’t be motivated by what they actually are motivated by; a seventh century belief system. The Prophet Mohammed declared Islam “perfected” prior to his death. A thousand years ago a group of senior Clerics also declared Islam “perfected”; no further interpretation required. Considering not just what the President says but what he doesn’t say, his view of ISIS, al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hiz’bAllah never references Medieval or Radical Islam as the motivational source.
The President must engage the war of ideas: he has not! By failing to do so he demonstrates a degree of empathy that leads to uncertainty, when certainty, in light of the evidence is hard to avoid. This is demonstrated again, clearly, when the FBI will serve as the lead agency investigating the ISIS beheadings; are they going to parachute into ISIS territory and flash their badges? Freeze! The President appears incapable of identifying an act of war for what it is and by extension damages American interests and influence. Does ISIS want us to overact? Likely so, however, act and over react are very different things and the over react option in on the shelf, already dusty.
The absence of resolution by the President is deep and has been demonstrable throughout his career. From his “present” votes in the Illinois Congress to his absence of confident decision making in the moment, one must be led to the opinion that the President lacks a center absent political considerations. That is a great danger in a dangerous world!