Obama really laid down the law on ISIS, then, perhaps after contemplating the panic in his base, backpedaled. From ABC News:
Obama Suggests ISIS Must Be Destroyed (or Maybe Not)
TALLINN, Estonia – President Obama has condemned the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, saying “we will not be intimidated … justice will be done.”
But he offered a mixed message today about what exactly the United States wants to do about ISIS.
At first, the president offered what seemed to be an unambiguous goal. “The bottom line is this: Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it is no longer a threat,” he said.
That would be an expansion of what the president and top White House officials have said previously. They have steadfastly avoided saying the goal of U.S. policy is the destruction of ISIS, instead citing more modest objectives: protecting Americans, protecting Iraqi infrastructure, stopping a humanitarian disaster, etc.
But when ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton today asked the president to clarify whether the United States now wants ISIS destroyed, the president seemed to significantly backtrack.
“Our objective is to make sure they aren’t an ongoing threat to the region,” he said.
Then, in response to another question, he seemed to backtrack even further: “We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its military capability to the point where it is a manageable problem.”
Making ISIS a “manageable problem” sounds like a far cry from destroying it.
We've come from "Unconditional Surrender" Grant to "Manageable Problem" Obama.
Amplifying the sense that Obama has lost the love of the Washington press corps is this headline from that once-reliable cheerleader, Dana Milbank:
President Obama’s unnerving happy talk
Obama has been giving Americans a pep talk, essentially counseling them not to let international turmoil get in the way of the domestic economic recovery. “The world has always been messy,” he said Friday. “In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.”
So we wouldn’t have fussed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine if not for Facebook? Or worried about terrorists taking over much of Syria and Iraq if not for Twitter? This explanation, following Obama’s indiscreet admission Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for military action against the Islamic State, adds to the impression that Obama is disengaged.
In short, Americans would worry less if Obama worried more.
I'd worry less if Obama worried more effectively, and about the right things. I have no doubt Obama has been tossing and turning about Hobby Lobby and the takeover of America by the jihadists of the religious right, but real jihadists? No worries.