Those who thought Pres. Barack Obama’s chat from the White House briefing room on Thursday was going to be more substantive are sure to be disappointed.
Long story short, the U.S. president was just checking in to let Americans know that his administration does not have a strategy to combat the militant Islamic group ISIS that has spilled over the Iraqi/Syrian border and taken over large swaths of Iraqi territories, including its second largest city, Mosul.
Mr. Obama, who had recently vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks, did say he plans to meet with the country’s national Security Council today.
“The options that I’m asking for from the Joint Chiefs focuses primarily on making sure that ISIL is not overrunning Iraq,” said Obama, who for some reason prefers to use the ISIL acronym for the militant Islamic group ISIS.
“We don’t have a strategy yet. We’re seeing some news reports suggesting we are further ahead than we are,” he said.
The president spent little time on the Russian/Ukraine conflict that broadened earlier Thursday when Russia invaded Ukraine in Eastern Europe.
Charges by Republicans that the president is “leading from behind” are likely to be bolstered by Mr. Obama’s ongoing lack of strategy.
However, some may take comfort that the president is dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to the area to work with allies. For those still unconvinced of Mr. Obama’s progress, he said he also ordered Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to prepare “a range of options” as he considers future military action.
Nevertheless, the fact that Mr. Obama pulled all American combat troops out of Iraq in 2011, just when ISIS was gathering strength in numbers, could give credence to his opponents claims of leading from behind. After all, Isis already controls much of northern and central Iraq after laying waste to much of Syria.
Some say Mr. Obama, who has ordered sporadic airstrikes in northern Iraq, is newly motivated by a video that emerged Aug. 19 showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley.
Since that horrific event was displayed for the world to see, Mr. Obama has assured Americans that he will be “relentless” in taking the fight to ISIS in Iraq. Apparently, all the president needs is to spend enough time with Congress and the Pentagon to settle on a strategy.
“As commander in chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people,” he said during his brief commentary to reporters in the briefing room. “Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader comprehensive strategy.”
The President, who with great swagger recently vowed to sidestep the elected representatives of Congress and carry out his agenda with Executive Orders, did say that he now planned to consult Congress over ISIS.
However, Mr. Obama has not spent a great deal of time building a working relationship with Congress, on either side of the aisle. Nor has the president taken the time and effort necessarry to build a working relationship with allied forces to deal with ISIS, or for that matter, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that is currently underway.
Nevertheless, Mr. Obama indicated Thursday that he was on the job and ready to consult with Congress in the future over the rapidly deteriorating situations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
“ I do think it will be important for Congress to weigh in … so the American people are part of the debate,” he said. “ I will consult with Congress and made sure their voices are heard. ”
What a concept! Sounds like Mr. Obama may have glanced at the U.S. Constitution between rounds of golf.