August 22nd, 2014

Obama may not be interested in war with ISIS, but…

…ISIS is interested in war with Obama.*

Is Obama getting more interested as a result of recent events? This writer certainly seems to think so.

I think he very much overstates it—although I think there’s an element of truth to the idea that something about the terrorist murder of James Foley has reached Obama in a slightly more emotional place than most other terrorist acts during his presidency. I’m not sure why; it may be the direct challenge the murderer issued to Obama in the video. It may be something else. It may not be the case at all.

But even if it were, I don’t think Obama has a worldview that can encompass his doing what he would need to do to war on ISIS successfully, whatever that may be. His love for the US and the western world is not strong enough. His willingness to use force, and his knowledge of what would be required, is weak as well. Whether or not he favors Iran (and many think he does; Iran is on the anti-ISIS side, anyway) doesn’t really affect the fact that, whether or not war is interested in him and whether or not he is interested in war, he not only lacks much knowledge of how wars are waged (and has in fact spent his career speaking against war rather than studying it), but he also lacks advisers with that knowledge. The learning curve would be steep, even if his interest has been piqued.

The attack on 9/11 came so early in George Bush’s presidency that it is easy to forget that, until then, he was widely perceived (and rightly so, I think) as a man uninterested in foreign policy and relatively isolationist. What happened to America on 9/11 instituted a sea change in him. But Bush’s prior background was completely different from that of Obama. Bush loved America, he had military and pilot training (the opposition mocks his Guard service, but he did), and his father had war experience both as a military man and as a war president. Bush also had advisers who were not speechwriters or political campaign directors. Even then, as we know, many errors were made in the process of inventing a way to fight a war on Islamic terrorism. But that’s the way war always goes.

Obama is now facing an enemy that is even more implacable, wealthy, and ruthless, an enemy which has learned over time how to be more effective. He is dealing with a country and a Western world that is war-weary and “lacks all conviction.” Even if his heart were in the right place, let’s just say it wouldn’t be easy.

[NOTE *See this.]

36 Responses to “Obama may not be interested in war with ISIS, but…”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I don’t think Obama gives ISIS much, if any consideration at all. And whatever amount of thought he gives it, it is strictly as a political consideration. Reportedly, 10 minutes after making a public statement about Foley, Obama was on his way to the golf course. That really should say it all.

    Quite honestly, I don’t think he cares the least bit whether America is attacked again. If anything he thinks its merely our “chickens coming home to roost”.

    Pro forma declarations warning ISIS of ‘serious consequences’ if they cross his “red line” is all he has to offer America.

  2. Gringo Says:

    Bush also had advisers who were not speechwriters or political campaign directors.

    Very telling. It also shows the importance that Obama places in foreign policy.

    Like you, I doubt Obama will do much of anything. Had ISIS been composed of the Tea Party irregulars, rest assured ISIS held areas- and vast areas not necessarily held by ISIS- would now have been turned into glass.

  3. southpaw Says:

    Neo I agree. The author is living in a dream world.
    “This week Obama struck a different tone, saying: “When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

    First, we go play golf.

    Then we file a complaint with the UN.

    Then we investigate the possibility of bringing the criminals who beheaded Foley to NY for a vigorous trial, after appointing him an army of defense attorneys and opening an ISIS Beheaders Defense Fund.

    Then we allow the ACLU to file a lawsuit against the US government for violating the rights of the beheaders, who claim it was simply a workplace accident with a sharp instrument.

  4. Ann Says:

    Eli Lake in that Daily Beast piece places the emphasis on the change in the Obama Administration’s rhetoric since the beheading. Since we know from experience that Obama’s statements usually have a very short shelf-life, it’s hard to take them seriously. But it is the case that the military and Chuck Hagel are sounding very hawkish right now. A Fox News military analyst looks at this, and says:

    “What the military is trying to do is get ahead of it,” he said. “I think Dempsey understands very clearly this is a multiyear campaign that is going to have to eventually involve Congress, the administration and the American people. He’s trying to set the conditions and tell the American people, get ready. This is all starting over again.”

    If they succeed in laying this kind of groundwork in getting everyone on board, it might be just enough to push Obama into doing something real.

  5. NeoConScum Says:

    “War-Weary”…Too f***ing bad, Western World. Try pressing the “Wake the F*** Up App. on your I-Thingies and pull your heads outta your self-obsessed Facey Things and Tweety Pies and look at some REALITY!!

    Radical Islam declared ALL Out War on us no later than 9-11-2001. And, poor little you, are War Weary?? Suck it up and try on some Big Boy Pants, you pathetic twits. They want us DEAD. They want our liberty & freedom extinguished. Side Questions: Did you know that the most common baby boys’ name in the UK is now Mohammad?? Are you aware(Duuhhh) the lineage of the rock and gas cocktail throwers in France??

    We profoundly need a brave, seasoned, patriotic, America loving, strength-of-character Leader who will lead us and KILL those who want us dead. Duuuhhhhhhhh…!! “War Weary”, you say? Get over your scrawny selves, Breezy & Bobby & Buffy. Sheeesh. Pathetic.

    Europe was f***ing WAR WEARY when the Western Powers kissed Hitler’s kiester in the 1930s. What the f*** did that cost the World??

  6. Michael Says:

    We are at war. What the President or his sycophants say or do is of no matter. No one really believes them anyway. Currently the only thing that matters is what ISIS says and does.

    The war will end in one of two ways…ISIS crying ‘uncle’ or in the screams of disbelief as they cut my neighbor’s head off.

  7. Don Carlos Says:

    Oh,stop already with the Obama is Facing an Enemy stuff. His enemies are purely internal and are known to Eric the Red and to the IRS, who are dealing with them, thank you very much.

    We seem to be obliquely revisiting the Obama- Knave v. Fool theme, having previously resolved that in favor of the Knave. Now he might be foolish? And shifting to some concern because of Foley? C’mon people, he is a knave through and through, and he means you and me harm with a capital H.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos:

    No one’s re-arguing that.

    First of all, I don’t think the author of the article is correct. But Obama’s history with terrorists is one of the few areas where he has been a bit more aggressive. This might be because he thinks he has to make a show of it to look credible, or it might be for other reasons. But it is the case. And that video might have gotten Obama’s pride hurt. He doesn’t like to be taunted and challenged.

    My post is just to say that even if Obama were more serious about fighting terrorists, he hasn’t the tools or will to go about it effectively. The post is a hypothetical, in other words. A thought experiment.

  9. Paul in Boston Says:

    Obama will do as little as possible since ISIS is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, his favorite third world organization. The administration is infested with MB sympathizers. Humah Abbadan, Hillary’s number two had a direct connection via both parents and no one said boo about that. Just wait, he’ll do what he always does, nothing.

    He’s probably pissed at this very moment that the racial incitement in Ferguson has died down, the Gentle Giant didn’t cooperate by robbing a store before getting himself killed by assaulting a police officer. Otherwise the administration and the MSM would pound that day and night to distract attention from anything truly important, like the defense of the nation. He’s also got to focus on adding all those illegal Democrats to the voter rolls via executive order, something that is truly important.

  10. junior Says:

    Twitchy’s got an interesting bit up. Apparently a White House spokesthing stated that securing Bergdahl’s freedom was considered more important than securing Foley’s freedom due to the former’s military service.

    Needless to say, that’s caused a few raised eyebrows.

  11. Kyndyll Says:

    I simply remain unconvinced that Obama is on a different side than ISIL.

  12. blert Says:

    Barry is ALREADY on record with the nostrum that America could absorb a 2nd Muslim super atrocity… it’d be no biggie.


    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Barry is running his war from a bunker?

    The bunker on the 17th hole, that is.

    First time tragedy, but with second-time Barry, tragic-farce.

  13. blert Says:

    Famously, Hitler, Stalin, LBJ… on down the line… could NOT bear to hear bad news/ any proofs that they were miles off track.

    So, in every case, their subordinate generals ‘faded’ reality.

    In Stalin’s case, the standard drill was to use a conscript dupe to deliver a dose of reality. He was a sucker for emergency dispatches from the front. [The shear idea that he, anyone, could run the battle from GHQ fielding rider dispatches is pretty rich right there. This is what happens, folks, when a despot can’t limit his impulses for over-control.]

    In Hitler’s case, his mind ran towards re-scripting what was happening. He had ‘alternate’ explanations for just about every battle reverse to come his way.

    In LBJ’s case, he had a SecDef that was just as despotic as any to come down the pike. You can catch a slice of this buried in old PBS ‘debate’ roundtables. He uses his social capital to bury all alternate points of view — even when HIS guidance has already been damned by events and history.

    It is entirely false that the Vietnam war was the generals war. LBJ overruled the Pentagon something chronic. You’d have to go back to Hitler to find such bizarre meddling.

    The apocryphal LBJ quote:

    “They (the Pentagon) can’t bomb an outhouse without my permission!”

    Whether such a bombastic statement was ever made, it’s telling that such a nostrum ever caught traction.


    All of which is a long way around to:

    No-one tells Barry ‘unpleasant’ news… if they want to stay on the team.

    This is why America is behind the curve — and will remain there — as long as Barry Soetoro is pounding sand — in the bunker.


    If this continues, I’m going to come down with advanced sinistrophobia. (fear of the left-handed)

    Bush I
    Hillary (both, that’s right)

    What’s going on?

    We know that handedness is linked to which side of the brain is dominant — or do we?

  14. neo-neocon Says:


    I’m left-handed.

  15. Tonawanda Says:

    I feel like a jackass saying this, Neo, but your post is perfectly expressed. Perfect modulation. Exactly right.

    Going on a goofball tangent, I truly wonder what the golf means. It is so bizarre even the adulators have noticed.

    I do not believe BO is as dumb as his adulators assume. By dumb, I mean unaware.

    Unable to be president in the conventional sense, yes.

    Able to make a splash, absolutely.

    In BO’s mind, there is a meaning to the golf. He does not even like golf, please. The golf is as dreary as the other conventional stuff.

    The meaning of his golfing expresses himself.

    To all our enemies and hopeful exterminators it comes across.

  16. Tonawanda Says:

    Left handed people (such as BO) seem to be a deliberate challenge to mankind.

    Interesting to know the neo-handedness.

  17. Tonawanda Says:

    And to continue the blather – –

    If and probably when islam strikes in the US, after November 2014 (they aren’t that unsophisticated, but maybe) the attack will be seen in light of the golf.

    The golf image has been too impressive, despite the soviet media. It is way beyond “what if a Republican had done this?”

    It is way beyond the sex and possible drugs which would be an understandable explanation for the golf.

    Call me a lunatic. I probably am.

    BO is a childish man, a Leftist at home with the thrill of jihad, or vice versa.

    Who knows.

    Americans will see the attack in the glow of the golf.

    This is more than a fuck you.

    Some how the Limbaugh theory plays a part. BO does not want to be seen as a part.

    He is willing to be seen as an incompetent.

    He is, no doubt, in the conventional sense.

    Not that he cares.

  18. Cornhead Says:


    The constant golf with buddies means he is both depressed and has given up on the job.

    It is just a big party for him now. Check out the Net for reports of his big all Africa party. I think Lionel Ritchie performed.

  19. Tonawanda Says:

    The golf image has been too striking, is a better way to put it.

  20. Don Carlos Says:

    Most of my immediate family is lefthanded.
    A good book, though published 20 years ago, is

    Has some good news and some bad for us sinisters.

  21. Tonawanda Says:

    Cornhead @ 9:27 PM —

    Maybe so.

    My own pov: BO is too devoted for your explanation to be the total explanation.

    I hope you are right.

    Two years to go?

    I guess we will see.

  22. Tonawanda Says:

    DC: as a lefty, I have always felt special … lol.

  23. Don Carlos Says:

    Whoa! Lotsa southpaws here, me included. What does that mean, other than sinister?

  24. J.J. Says:

    Does anyone else see Obama’s failure to act the part of a concerned, competent President as passive aggressive behavior? Playing golf when the world is in chaos is his way of giving the finger to all his detractors. Using his pen and phone to order amnesty for illegals in September is another act of that sort.

    He’s not doing his party any favors. Are the Democrat Congressmen and Senators living in fear of what outrageous thing he’ll do next? Even the LIVs are taking notice.

    The beheading is not something that people will take lightly. The usual suspects will scream that we can’t use military force because this is a Law enforcement issue. But most Americans know that this is an act that is a threat to Americans everywhere. People who travel anywhere in the Muslim world are now in danger. I’m sure that ISIS is offering big money for Americans and Brits.

    The atrocities are aimed at the collective will of the citizenry. The jihadis have studied how North Vietnam used propaganda and quislings within our ranks to destroy our will to keep supporting South Vietnam. Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, ISIS, and others are all trying to win through propaganda designed to break the collective will of their enemies.

  25. GA Says:

    WRT lefties.
    Dominic Flandry.
    I’m a bar sinister by heraldry. My grandfather wandered into a sinister bar.

    Richard Aubrey

  26. Darrell Says:

    We should take a poll, another lefty here.

  27. Eric Says:

    Neo: “He is dealing with a country and a Western world that is war-weary and “lacks all conviction.””

    That’s a psychological state. Why is that? If it’s because of the Left’s propaganda, then the fix begins with taking a step back and correcting the Left’s propaganda from the basic premises, eg, explain that the decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom was right on the law and justified on the policy.

    Cure patient zero. Set the record straight first, then take the steps from there to reprogram We The People’s collective mental state. See the weariness drain away and the conviction rise.

  28. Eric Says:

    It’s worth noting that Obama’s statement that Foley’s beheading shocked the conscience of the world is unseemly when Obama failed to also acknowledge that ISIS has been doing that thousands of times over with Syrians and Iraqis for years and months. Of course, per Hillary Clinton’s criticism, Obama acknowledging allowing ISIS to grow on his watch, while knowing ISIS’s character, would spotlight his foreign policy. Better to pretend that Foley’s beheading is the wake-up call even if that makes America look very self-centered.

  29. NeoConScum Says:

    Eric: Well said.

    I wish the Republicans would start wrapping the carnage, mayhem, bloodbaths and inaction on America’s part around Hillary’s faux blond head very soon. Our side can’t let them get any ground with her bleating, “I TOLD Him..” and, “I repeatedly made it clear to the President..”, etc., etc.

    Hilly, Honey Bunny, YOU were his Sec’y of State. Other than putting a tanker load of miles on airplanes, there’s NO evidence that you did squat. Except, of course, help Obama broadcast weakness, lack of interest and testicular concavitude to a watching-listening world.

  30. Mike O'Malley Says:

    southpaw Says:
    August 22nd, 2014 at 5:17 pm …

    Then we investigate the possibility of bringing the criminals who beheaded Foley to NY for a vigorous trial, after appointing him an army of defense attorneys and opening an ISIS Beheaders Defense Fund.

    Then we allow the ACLU to file a lawsuit against the US government for violating the rights of the beheaders…

    Before his appointed as US Attorney General in 2009, Eric Holder was a managing partner with Covington & Burling. During his tenure as a Covington & Burling managing partner, Covington & Burling provided more pro-bono legal aid to terrorists held in detention in Guantánamo Bay than any other American group. I seem to recall that it provided no pro-bono legal support for American servicemen charged with various crimes during the GWoT.

    During Eric Holder’s tenure as Covington & Burling managing partner, his firm touted its relationship with Institution Quraysh.

    This is how Wikipedia describes Institution Quraysh

    Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy, also known as iQ, is a transnational law firm, and think-tank with offices in Doha, Jeddah, and London. The institution’s primary area of focus is the Arab World, in particular the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It advises regional, and international corporations operating in the region, in addition to policy work with national governments, sovereign entities, and international non-governmental organisations.

    iQ is affiliated with the Washington, D.C.-based global law firm Covington & Burling LLP, with both firms providing legal and consulting services jointly to clients in the Middle East and the wider Arab World.

    Institute Quraysh touts its extensive connections with Qatar. Qatar funneled approximately $1/2 billion of weapons supplied by the US to Islamic hardliners among the Syrian rebels. Qatar supports ISIS. Qatar supports Hamas. Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In light of AG Eric Holder’s early and continued efforts to free Islamicist detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, a Qatari goal I understand, I’ve often wondered to what degree Eric Holder’s appointment as US Attorney General is an instance of regulatory capture.

    Again from Wikipedia:

    Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called “captured agencies”.

    For public choice theorists, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether.[1] Regulatory capture refers to the actions by interest groups when this imbalance of focused resources devoted to a particular policy outcome is successful at “capturing” influence with the staff or commission members of the regulatory agency, so that the preferred policy outcomes of the special interest groups are implemented.

    Regulatory capture theory is a core focus of the branch of public choice referred to as the economics of regulation; economists in this specialty are critical of conceptualizations of governmental regulatory intervention as being motivated to protect public good.

    Often cited articles include Bernstein (1955), Huntington (1952), Laffont & Tirole (1991), and Levine & Forrence (1990). The theory of regulatory capture is associated with Nobel laureate economist George Stigler, one of its main developers.

  31. Mike O'Malley Says:

    J.J. Says:
    August 22nd, 2014 at 9:57 pm …

    The atrocities are aimed at the collective will of the citizenry. The jihadis have studied how North Vietnam used propaganda and quislings within our ranks to destroy our will to keep supporting South Vietnam. Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, ISIS, and others are all trying to win through propaganda designed to break the collective will of their enemies.

    An excellent observation JJ. There are other ways of viewing their behavior I think.

    Nietzsche observed and criticized how thoroughly Western Civilization is infused with empathy for the victim. He attributed it to “Jewish slave morality”. Nietzsche observed and applauded how (non-Judeao/Christian) Pagan societies were not so encumbered.

    I suspect ISIS’s atrocities are inward directed much the same way Roman imperial atrocities were broadcast, celebrated and memorialized for internal audiences. Those atrocities were used in no small part to unify and legitimatize the empire by scapegoating the victims. Nietzsche understood and applauded.

    This we don’t seem to grasp.

    Further, the jihadists seem to have identified and are exploiting vulnerability in our society.

    I will borrow from a recent Legal Insurrection post:

    Misleading Initial Narrative of Zimmerman-Martin Case Applied in Ferguson
    Posted by Andrew Branca Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 12:30pm

    A Too-Familiar Misinformation Cascade

    This most recent high-profile shooting has also seen the deployment of a too-familiar misinformation cascade in cases where there is a real or perceived racial element. This misinformation cascade achieves its purpose by taking what few “facts” are typically available in the immediate aftermath of such an event, and passing them through a rhetorical filter to construct two defining narrative elements:

    * The pure victim: An image of the victim as an innocent, nearly saint-like, young child of such tender years as to suggest that the very notion of him committing an act of malice is preposterous.

    * The monstrous aggressor: An image of the shooter as an angry, hateful, racist monster with a hunger for shooting young black children dead in circumstances totally absent of legal justification.

    This is precisely the same propaganda strategy the Islamicists have used to foil and demonizel Israel’s recent defense against Hizbullah and Hamas genociders. I fear this propaganda strategy is gaining ground in the USA.

  32. CapnRusty Says:

    Obama thinks the beheading video shocked the conscience of the world. I was shocked a week before by the widely-disseminated photographs of the beheaded little girl and the river of blood pouring out of a young woman into a wash basin. Both posted by ISIS.

  33. southpaw Says:

    God forbid that ISIS manages a terrorist attack on us, but they surely recognize this is their best chance. They have been handed the gift of Barry, the vacationer-in-chief.
    If we are hit, the true incompetence and dimwittedness of this clown will be on full view for the world to see. With only political advisors and political instincts, he’ll have no clue about what to do about a major terrorist attack except promise to track down those responsible.
    After blaming all of our intelligence agencies, the FBI, and anyone else but himself for a lapse in US security, it will be business as usual – golfing, fund raising, and demagoguing about rich fat cats, racial discrimination, and global warming – the real threat to Mother Earth, from which we must not be distracted by petty nuclear attacks from JV terrorist organizations.
    Ecce homo:

  34. gracepmc Says:

    Well, his purging of the “generals” and politicization of the rank and file will not hold us in good stead.

  35. DonS Says:

    Bush was an F-102 pilot. I believe he was actually active duty for a short while, and at one point put in for Vietnam duty when they were considering sending some F-102s over.

    Also, the biggest failings in Bush’s handling of the wars was actually not the wars themselves, but the aftermath. The occupation and rebuilding were the parts the Bush administration did poorly, underestimating the issues they would face in those phases. One issue was the Democrats, who proved willing to put interests of Party ahead of country.

  36. Mike O'Malley Says:

    DonS Says:
    August 24th, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Also, the biggest failings in Bush’s handling of the wars was actually not the wars themselves, but the aftermath. The occupation and rebuilding were the parts the Bush administration did poorly, underestimating the issues they would face in those phases.

    Acording to Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for United States under President George W. Bush, Bush did not intend to occupy Iraq for long. Instead he intended to quickly turn Iraq over to governance by Iraqi exiles. According to Feith, Paul Bremer did not implement Pres. Bush’s plan.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge