Obama on ISIS: ‘Ideologies Are Not Defeated with Guns’

 

ObamaISISAfter meeting with military leaders today at the Pentagon, President Obama held a brief press conference on his administration’s ISIS policy. With head hung low and slumped shoulders, a graying Obama breezed through a statement that raised more questions than clarified America’s strategy:

OBAMA: This broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas and more attractive and more compelling vision. So the United States will continue to do our part by continuing to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We are fighting terrorists who distort Islam and its victims are mostly Muslims.

We’re also going to partner with Muslim communities as they seek the prosperity and dignity they observe. And we’re going to expect those communities to step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can in conjunction with other people of good will against these hateful ideologies, particularly when it comes to what we’re teaching young people.

Were they still around, Hitler, Saddam and Pol Pot would disagree that ideologies aren’t defeated with guns (Mussolini would add that a rope works too). Yet Obama continues to peddle the silly progressive fantasy that terrorists can be defeated by a particularly clever TED talk. Even presidential pal Bill Ayers favored tossing a bomb every so often; perhaps if lefty bombmakers would target our enemies instead of our troops, we could drop a few Weathermen cells in the Middle East.

Since Obama thinks this latest statement will buy him some time, let’s look back at his history on the Islamic State to better assess our progress in rolling back the barbaric tide.

January 2014

“I think the analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.” Two days later, ISIS took Fallujah.

August 2014

After tens of thousands of Yazidis are trapped and starving: “I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there. Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive… As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.  And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.”

September 2014

After James Foley and Steven Sotloff are beheaded: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

February 2015

After Kayla Mueller is killed: “With our allies and partners, we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group… Today, my administration submitted a draft resolution to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIL.”

June 2015

When asked at the G7 Summit about the progress of his anti-ISIS efforts: “When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people. We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis, as well, about how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place. And so the details of that are not yet worked out.”

July 2015

“Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas and more attractive and more compelling vision. So the United States will continue to do our part by continuing to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online.”

———-

It is obvious that President Obama has no clear strategy to defeat or degrade ISIS, but is instead attempting to run out the clock so he can leave this nightmare for his successor to deal with. Obama entered office with a To-Do List and, in his mind, he checked off the “End War in Iraq” box back in 2011. So he will dither and dance for the next year and a half instead of reassessing his juvenile understanding of geopolitics. Whenever ISIS has a military victory or lops off a few heads, he will issue a tepid non-statement to get the press off his back for another couple of months.

In the meantime, the Middle East will continue to bleed and the western capitals will continue to shudder.

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  1. KevinC Contributor
    KevinC
    @KevinCreighton

    Yeah, remember when the 203rd Feminist History Battalion (Airmobile) landed on Omaha Beach and went on to defeat the Nazis with a brilliant refutation of binary gender fascist ideology?

    Good times, good times.

    • #1
  2. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Is there even any point in belaboring Obama’s lack of strategy? The real news would be if he actually came up with one rather than that he has yet again offered some boilerplate leftism as a substitute.

    The man has less than a year and a half until he can be out on a golf course 24-7, things have to just not fall apart until then, when it will be Hillary’s problem.

    ISIS is here to stay my friends, at least for the foreseeable future. In a few years Liberals will start to talk of convergence and detente. They will remind us how this is all our fault, how if we only we were willing to talk to them we could probably reach a compromise. Then maybe 30 years on when ISIS is building a bomb we will look back to our success with Iran and try to make lightning strike twice.

    • #2
  3. AIG Member
    AIG
    @AIG

    “Obama has no strategy”, repeated ad nauseum. If you repeated enough times, someone’s going to bite.

    Meanwhile, did Bush have a “strategy”? Seems we’re in this mess precisely because Bush had no strategy…

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bush-us-cant-win-war-on-terror/

    Asked “Can we win?” Mr. Mr. Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.”

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan sought to clarify the president’s remarks, telling reporters, “He was talking about winning it in the conventional sense … about how this is a different kind of war and we face an unconventional enemy.”

    Meanwhile, I’ve yet to hear what the “strategy” the Republicans are proposing is? Or is it a repetition of Bush’s lack of strategy?

    • #3
  4. AIG Member
    AIG
    @AIG

    KevinC:Yeah, remember when the 203rd Feminist History Battalion (Airmobile) landed on Omaha Beach and went on to defeat the Nazis with a brilliant refutation of binary gender fascist ideology?

    Good times, good times.

    Yeah, remember when Bush used to speak about changing ideologies in the ME? What a Lefty loony toon he was.

    Good times, indeed.

    • #4
  5. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    To be fair, Obama is half-right. Ideologies are not defeated by guns.  Obama has a lot of guns at his disposal.  Not doing him a lot of good defeating ISIS.

    And frankly, in the contrast of visions, one side offers you the ability to take all you can kill, rape or steal.  And the other side, in spite of all its firepower to stop you, can only offer YouTube videos.

    When the President says, ““Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas and more attractive and more compelling vision,” he is explaining why ISIS has got the jump on him.

    • #5
  6. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    AIG: Meanwhile, did Bush have a “strategy”? Seems we’re in this mess precisely because Bush had no strategy…

    Except Bush’s strategy won in Iraq. Then Obama abandoned it and let ISIS have all the equipment.

    • #6
  7. KevinC Contributor
    KevinC
    @KevinCreighton

    Quinn the Eskimo: To be fair, Obama is half-right. Ideologies are not defeated by guns.

    To quote A Real American Hero, knowing is half the battle.

    Of course, the other half of the battle is reducing your enemy to a quivering mass of jell-o through the vigorous application of overwhelming firepower.

    THAT’S the half that Obama seems to have a problem with.

    • #7
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Aw, shucks, Jon. You beat me to it. I was going to post this under the headline, “In Which I Agree (Halfway) with Obama’s Foreign Policy.”

    Ideologies are not defeated with guns, ….

    but nukes do a bang-up job! Just look at the absence of the imperial cult among the Japanese these days!

    • #8
  9. Douglas Member
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    “Ideologies are not defeated with guns” – Obama

    “Why couldn’t I have gotten this guy?” – Hitler

    • #9
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    AIG: Meanwhile, did Bush have a “strategy”? Seems we’re in this mess precisely because Bush had no strategy…

    Except Bush’s strategy won in Iraq. Then Obama abandoned it and let ISIS have all the equipment.

    Bush’s strategy was “We win. Our enemies lose.”

    Obama’s strategy is, “I’m going to talk them into submission.” Or, at least, bore the people so much, they don’t care anymore about dead brown people half a world away. Seems to be working on AIG.

    • #10
  11. Douglas Member
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    AIG: Meanwhile, did Bush have a “strategy”? Seems we’re in this mess precisely because Bush had no strategy…

    Except Bush’s strategy won in Iraq. Then Obama abandoned it and let ISIS have all the equipment.

    I think history is gonna disagree. We obviously won Iraq in the first year of invasion. What we lost was the occupation and nation building mission. We broke Iraq into pieces, probably because Pat Buchanan was right on this and Iraq was never a nation in the first place; it was a collection of tribes held together by terror, and when we took that terror away, things started going back to their normal, bloody, brutal state… tribal warfare. The surge was always going to be temporary. To keep the peace there, we’d have to perpetually occupy the place, or at least for generations. That’s something Americans simply weren’t going to agree to.

    What will put the nail in the “we won” coffin was the fact that Donald Rumsfeld, God bless him good man and all, tried to do two opposing things at the same time. He tried to rebuild and occupy Iraq while doing his “revolution in military affairs” project. Considering that the later involved big reductions in things like traditional infantry forces, with money going to things like stealth fighters and smart weapons… first strike, first day of the war weapons that were useless in places like Iraq and Afghanistan… he was working at cross purposes.

    • #11
  12. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    KevinC:

    Quinn the Eskimo: To be fair, Obama is half-right. Ideologies are not defeated by guns.

    To quote A Real American Hero, knowing is half the battle.

    Of course, the other half of the battle is reducing your enemy to a quivering mass of jell-o through the vigorous application of overwhelming firepower.

    THAT’S the half that Obama seems to have a problem with.

    Kevin,

    I agree with you about the jell-o. However, you have given Obama much too much credit with the other half. Bush’s word “terrorism” was an ideological problem because it was much too vague and broad a definition. No one in the Muslim world really knew what we wanted. Obama’s word “violent extremism” is even more vague and broad than “terrorism”. In short Obama is an even more ideologically inept strategist and doesn’t have any punch whatsoever.

    You must narrow the definition while leaving the Muslim world enough space to maneuver. We are fighting Jihadists. We are fighting Jihad. This is crystal clear to the Muslim world. This makes our targeting job simple. To paraphrase Admiral Halsey. Find the Jihadists, kill the Jihadists, and return to base.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. Douglas Member
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Quinn the Eskimo:To be fair, Obama is half-right. Ideologies are not defeated by guns. Obama has a lot of guns at his disposal. Not doing him a lot of good defeating ISIS.

    We’re not really fighting ISIS. We’re telling everyone else “Hey, you guys should fight ISIS”.

    We’re dropping the occasional bomb on them. And as I’m not sure we should be fighting them at all, that’s OK for now.

    • #13
  14. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    We should not be surprised that the left believes it can turn all conflict into an argument about rational self-interest.  For people who can see such malignancy in their conservative opposition, for some unfathomable reason the western left thinks that it can prevail upon the truly malignant, like ISIS.  This is a continental chasm of ideological blindness, this idea that people are rational creatures who will acquiesce to arguments made by arrogant, altruistic leftists.  This is a particular western leftist conceit, certainly not something that Napoleon, Chairman Mao, Uncle Joe or Stalin would embrace.  This conceit is evidence of a profound self-delusion; that somehow a reworked version of a kinder, gentler leftist totalitarianism is morally superior to the depredations of the cultural revolution or Mussolini’s fascism.  It’s not.  It’s the same, just imposed using  lies and deceit instead of murder, terror and the gulag.  Liberty is eroded slowly, along with supportive cultural institutions.  Entitlement bribery, immigration and legerdemain are used to coax an ignorant, ill-informed and vain public into giving up liberty willingly.

    Some of us can see through this façade. Obama is the newest iteration of these fellow travelers and no less shallow or misguided.  But he is just as arrogant and wrong, and his delusions have led to policy that leaves the US worse off and the world a far more dangerous place than when he was first confirmed as POTUS.  The next two years cannot pass by too quickly.

    • #14
  15. KevinC Contributor
    KevinC
    @KevinCreighton

    James Gawron: Find the Jihadists, kill the Jihadists, and return to base.

    Nice in theory, but jihad doesn’t start in Syria, it starts in Ridayh and Qom, and let’s face it, at least one of those cities is a bridge too far right now.

    Love him or hate him, Bush was always certain that the U.S. was on the right side in this war. When we have a President who talks about fighting “Those who would slander the Prophet of Islam,” I have to wonder which side he’s rooting for…

    • #15
  16. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    KevinC:

    Quinn the Eskimo: To be fair, Obama is half-right. Ideologies are not defeated by guns.

    To quote A Real American Hero, knowing is half the battle.

    Of course, the other half of the battle is reducing your enemy to a quivering mass of jell-o through the vigorous application of overwhelming firepower.

    THAT’S the half that Obama seems to have a problem with.

    Part of a compelling alternative is that killing, raping and stealing will lead to fire raining down from the sky upon you.  If our wrath is scarier than their wrath, that’s something.

    I agree with you there.  Guns can’t defeat an ideology if you are unwilling to use them.

    • #16
  17. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Douglas:

    Quinn the Eskimo:To be fair, Obama is half-right. Ideologies are not defeated by guns. Obama has a lot of guns at his disposal. Not doing him a lot of good defeating ISIS.

    We’re not really fighting ISIS. We’re telling everyone else “Hey, you guys should fight ISIS”.

    We’re dropping the occasional bomb on them. And as I’m not sure we should be fighting them at all, that’s OK for now.

    One of Obama’s many problems is that he is a braggart.  If he doesn’t intend to fight, he shouldn’t fight and he should keep his mouth shut.  Obama’s behavior is the worst of both worlds.  I think it invites people to call Obama’s bluff, here and elsewhere.

    • #17
  18. Nick Stuart Member
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Obama doesn’t say things because he thinks they are true. He thinks things are true because he says them.

    • #18
  19. AIG Member
    AIG
    @AIG

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Except Bush’s strategy won in Iraq.

    If you keep repeating on obviously false statement (i.e. a lie), does it become the truth?

    ***Note from Jon Gabriel: I went to reply to this comment from AIG and bone-headedly edited it instead. Apologies to AIG for the screw-up on my part.***

    • #19
  20. user_348483 Coolidge
    user_348483
    @EHerring

    We only win wars when we kill people and destroy things.

    • #20
  21. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    It is also probably worth mentioning that the ideology of German racial superiority was defeated in part the guns of the so-called racially inferior people of the East.  A pretty convincing refutation of the notion of the Aryan superman, I would say.

    • #21
  22. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Quinn the Eskimo:It is also probably worth mentioning that the ideology of German racial superiority was defeated in part the guns of the so-called racially inferior people of the East. A pretty convincing refutation of the notion of the Aryan superman, I would say.

    Only with supplies from a capitalist country that fought a war on two fronts and crossed two oceans to do it. The Soviet contribution is highly overrated.

    • #22
  23. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    KevinC:

    James Gawron: Find the Jihadists, kill the Jihadists, and return to base.

    Nice in theory, but jihad doesn’t start in Syria, it starts in Ridayh and Qom, and let’s face it, at least one of those cities is a bridge too far right now.

    Love him or hate him, Bush was always certain that the U.S. was on the right side in this war. When we have a President who talks about fighting “Those who would slander the Prophet of Islam,” I have to wonder which side he’s rooting for…

    I agree that Obama is inferior in all ways to Bush. However, we must try to improve upon our strategy in light of new knowledge. We must choose between the theoretical Jihadism of Riyadh and the active hyper-politicized Jihadism of Tehran. Riyadh desperately needs to fight Tehran. They will gladly engage in an anti-Jihadist war against Tehran right now if we were to offer it. Meanwhile, Tehran smirks at Kerry as the idiot imagines that Tehran would ever engage in an anti-Jihadist war. They are a pure Jihadist state. Their national founding ideology is based on an extreme hatred of the United States and Israel. They are aggressively subverting every other country in the Middle East and the current reaction to them is the evidence.

    We have other potential allies in the Middle East. The Iranian People for one. They are highly educated and have repeatedly tried to break free of the Mullahs. They have the least to gain and the most to lose by a policy of insane Jihadism.

    By partnering wisely and conclusively, we can promote our position and break the Jihadists. The vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East would be pleased by this. Only the completely ignorant could cling to pure Jihadism and they are not the future. Anyone with a smartphone knows that the world does not work the way the Jihadists want it. Start killing them and their invincibility dissolves. The Peshmerga are a good test case. Unfortunately, they are not capable of alliance beyond their own borders. The Egyptians and the Saudis are already at war with Jihad. Find more allies and make more joint efforts.

    Finally, there was nothing wrong with shock and awe. We just needed to go to the surge a couple years sooner.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
  24. AIG Member
    AIG
    @AIG

    Here’s Bush:

    The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East.

    This is a difficult, long-term project, yet there’s no alternative to it. Our future and the future of that region are linked.

    If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery, while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger for our generation and the next.

    If the peoples in that region are permitted to chose their own destiny and advance by their own energy and by their participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end.

    By standing for the hope and freedom of others we make our own freedom more secure.

    Damn hippie!

    KevinC: When we have a President who talks about fighting “Those who would slander the Prophet of Islam,” I have to wonder which side he’s rooting for…

    Here’s Bush again:

    Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.

    Damn dirty hippie!

    • #24
  25. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Doug Watt:

    Quinn the Eskimo:It is also probably worth mentioning that the ideology of German racial superiority was defeated in part the guns of the so-called racially inferior people of the East. A pretty convincing refutation of the notion of the Aryan superman, I would say.

    Only with supplies from a capitalist country that fought a war on two fronts and crossed two oceans to do it. The Soviet contribution is highly overrated.

    Although throwing millions of soon-to-be dead bodies at German machine guns pointing in the wrong direction (or right direction, if you’re landing at Omaha Beach) certainly helped.

    I don’t know if it’s under- or overrated.  But considering the atrocities rendered upon the German populace by the Red Army as it advanced over German territory, I’d say that the Germans more feared Stalin than the US Army, considering which side the Germans were running to in order to surrender.

    Which means the Soviet contribution, like it or not, is probably not generally overstated.

    Wait.  Weren’t we talking about a sissy in the White House?  Please continue.

    • #25
  26. Douglas Member
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Doug Watt:

    Quinn the Eskimo:It is also probably worth mentioning that the ideology of German racial superiority was defeated in part the guns of the so-called racially inferior people of the East. A pretty convincing refutation of the notion of the Aryan superman, I would say.

    Only with supplies from a capitalist country that fought a war on two fronts and crossed two oceans to do it. The Soviet contribution is highly overrated.

    There’s a pretty big debate about how effective the Soviets would have been without American supplies. The Soviets made most of their own arms… most famously the T-34’s that rolled off of makeshift production lines. But you can’t eat a tank, and American food, fuel, and supplies probably kept the Soviets afloat. As many Soviet vets have noticed, orders from the rear to front line troops were often carried via Dodge sedans.

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Ideologies aren’t defeated by guns, they’re defeated by more competitive ideologies.

    Otoh, guns aren’t defeated by ideologies, they’re defeated by other guns.

    The Nazi state was defeated by force of arms.

    Nazi ideology was defeated by liberal democracy. (Installed and maintained by force of arms until it took root.)

    Basically you need both – and politically Obama is giving combatting ISIS as much force of arms as the American people are currently willing to accept.

    • #27
  28. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Bush:

    The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East.

    This is a difficult, long-term project, yet there’s no alternative to it. Our future and the future of that region are linked.

    If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery, while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger for our generation and the next.

    If the peoples in that region are permitted to chose their own destiny and advance by their own energy and by their participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end.

    Note:  It’s the “fifth” element.  What are the 4 earlier elements?  Hint:  Not playing smoochie-bottoms with terrorists.

    KevinC: When we have a President who talks about fighting “Those who would slander the Prophet of Islam,” I have to wonder which side he’s rooting for…

    Here’s Bush again:

    Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.

    This is completely different from the “future does not belong”, which implicitly denies a future to anyone who is not onboard Team ISIS.  Ask the beheaded children in Iraq.

    • #28
  29. user_645357 Member
    user_645357
    @Acook

    “…especially online.”

    Yeah, our Facebook page will be better than theirs. That’ll show them.

    • #29
  30. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    By the way, what happened to the swaggering machismo of the guy who took time out from his golf game to “get” bin Laden?

    • #30

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