9:21 PM, Sep 10, 2014 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN and KIMBERLY KAGAN
President Obama just announced that he is bringing a counter-terrorism strategy to an insurgency fight. He was at pains to repeat the phrase “counter-terror” four times in a short speech. Noting that ISIL is not a state (partly because the international community thankfully does not recognize it), he declared, “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.” Neither of those sentences, unfortunately, is true.
ISIL is an insurgent group that controls enormous territory in Iraq and Syria that it governs. It maneuvers conventional light infantry forces supported by vehicles mounting machine guns and occasionally armored personnel carriers against the regular forces of the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga—and wins.
It is purely and simply not a terrorist organization any longer. Neither is it the simple manifestation of nihilistic evil the president makes out.
ISIL has described a very clear vision of seizing control of all of the territory of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. It intends to abolish all of the borders and redraw them according to a new structure of governance suitable to its hateful version of an old Islamic heresy. That vision also makes it more than a simple terrorist organization. It’s awfully hard to develop a sound strategy when you start by mis-diagnosing the problem so profoundly. That’s why the “strategy” the president just announced has no chance of success.
3:01 PM, Sep 8, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
On Wednesday, the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President Obama will speak to the American people about his strategy for dealing with the rise of the Islamic State, the would-be caliphate bestriding Iraq and Syria, the most palpable and present threat to the region since Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and, later, Kuwait.
7:01 AM, Sep 3, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking earlier this morning in Estonia, President Obama addressed dealing with ISIS. He talked of making ISIS a "manageable problem" if the "international community" comes together:
"We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISILl's sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem," said Obama.
7:32 AM, Sep 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Robert Gibbs, the first White House press secretary in the Obama administration, calls President Obama's "we don't have a strategy yet" comment about dealing with ISIS a "wince-able moment."
Sep 8, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 48 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
"Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” President Obama told the American Legion’s annual convention in Charlotte on Tuesday, August 26. He repeated the thought in his pre-Labor Day weekend press conference on August 28. A week before, the day after the murder of James Foley, Obama had remarked, “From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread.”
5:02 PM, Aug 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden told a reporter today that the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the ISIS will not alter the approach to the terror group. An "AP reporter asked if Foley's beheading changed the U.S. approach to ISIS," the White House pool report reads. "Biden said no, but it shines a spotlight on the horrors going on in that part of the world."
On ISIS, Biden also said:
Feb 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 20 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
President Obama has gone on the offensive at the beginning of his second term, and Republicans aren’t happy campers. Of course, every Republican camp is unhappy in its own way.
Jan 28, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 19 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
In March 1975, with the United States in post-Watergate disarray at home, stunned by repeated diplomatic defeats at the United Nations, and about to suffer the humiliation of seeing an ally at whose side we had fought for many years be overrun by the North Vietnamese Communist Army, Daniel Patrick Moynihan asked: “What then does the United States do?”
His answer, in an article in Commentary magazine:
Sep 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 02 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Early Friday morning, September 14, a movie-loving and Romney-supporting friend emailed: “I’m starting to panic. Tell me not to.”
I sent back the obvious response, citing the great Aladdin: “Abu, this is no time to panic. . . . Start panicking!”
A little panic never hurts a trailing campaign. Panic can be your friend—if it leads to a few basic adjustments. And with a few basic adjustments, Mitt Romney can win the presidency—without the help of a magic lamp or a genie.
1:40 PM, Sep 7, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Barack Obama adviser David Plouffe gave a statement to the press to say that his boss would leave the convention with "momentum" but that that the campaign is expecting "the race is going to be about where it was" before the conventions. Plouffe predicts that this "a problem for Mitt Romney."
12:55 PM, Jul 6, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Obama campaign ... might eke out a victory, but it is at risk of losing control of the economic narrative. Its best hope is to stop nickel-and-diming Mitt Romney and laundry-listing forgettable initiatives and, instead, give independents reason to think that Obama has a clear, viable plan to bolster the economy.
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