Obama, ISIS, and Being on the Right Side of History Between Tee Times


obama-vacation-1-300x211President Obama on Wednesday slightly delayed his afternoon tee time to speak about the monstrous beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS. It was an underwhelming address from the Leader of the Free World who finds the crown so heavy and bothersome that he puts it down aside the putting green.

In his address, Obama did well in the “sympathy-in-chief” role. I do believe that Obama is horrified and saddened, as all Americans are, about the tragic fate of James Foley. But Obama failed in his actual job — that of a leader who must express genuine and righteous anger about this act of barbarism against all people who cherish liberty.

Obama has displayed more passion and employed sharper rhetoric when talking about Republicans in Congress — who, last I heard, are not in the business of sawing off heads to make their point clear. Maybe we’ll get a better performance from our president if ISIS makes fun of the Obamacare website.

ISIS Interrupts the Narrative


BvZ5vBrIgAAv3ChAfter witnessing four nights of incited mayhem on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, I made a personal declaration on Twitter that I would no longer retweet or tweet at members of the media in Ferguson who were sensationalizing the standoff between the police and the rioters. It’s become clear they have inserted themselves into the story and made it more about a political ideology (the man putting us all down) than about the facts of the investigation of Michael Brown’s death.

Every tweet about being shoved, arrested, manhandled or just plain being treated rudely now serves the sole purpose now of goosing ratings and clicks. This is not justice for Michael Brown or Darren Wilson. This is Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers come to life, with the media becoming the story. In lower Manhattan, they stood around and recorded members of Occupy Wall Street clashing with police. In Missouri, they are declaring themselves the Occupiers.

Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times admitted as much yesterday, stating on his Twitter feed that the media has become an accelerant. Take a bow. 

Obama Endorses Regime Change in Iraq


Buyb1A2CMAAHqDG.jpg-largeIraq’s wildly unpopular prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is hunkering down in Baghdad, refusing to heed public calls to step down. Iraq’s president increased the stakes by appointing Dr. Haider al-Abadi to be the country’s new prime minister.

Maliki blasted the move, accusing president Fouad Massoum of violating Iraq’s constitution and denouncing moves by Washington to shore up Abadi.

Interrupting his ill-timed vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Obama praised American air strikes on ISIL and issued a pro forma statement supporting the new government.

Obama’s War


603935_10151250061666749_609734208_nOur Commander-in-Chief is belatedly learning a lesson that every infantryman knows his first year. You don’t “end” wars; you win them or you lose them.

Thanks to our valiant armed forces and the Petraeus/Bush surge, we defeated the militants in Iraq and were ready for a gradual, organized hand-off to the newly elected civilian government.

But President Obama, through political calculation or diplomatic ineptness, failed to secure a simple Status of Forces Agreement with Prime Minister Maliki. This led to an abrupt removal of American troops and American influence on the fledgling state. As expected, the Iraq security vacuum was filled soon enough.

Just Enough to Fail


ISILWhat is the moral, intellectual, and policy terrain on which Barack Obama will decide whether we turn over Iraq to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? Is it the national interest of the United States? The potential consequences of Iraq’s collapse? The stability (or lack thereof) of our allies in the region? Existential threats to Israel? Fundamental human rights concerns over the bloody fate guaranteed apostates, unbelievers, and women? The answer is as shallow, disappointing, and vile as you can possibly imagine. Barack Obama’s only concern is his political legacy, which is why he’ll do just enough in Iraq to fail.

Our policy toward ISIL has become about the Obama brand, as every decision by this White House always has. You can predict Obama’s behavior by asking how it effects his image. Policy is just a means to an end for the profound, gnawing narcissism that fuels him. Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what you can do for the Obama legacy.

President Obama’s every thought is turned to the long march ahead, where generations of liberal pundits will craft and polish his reputation as the Greatest President Since Washington. He knows the media’s 50-year investment in the Kennedy myth is waning, and he’s wants them to play the same role for him, without the messy ending. If you thought the slobbering, tween-girl media squeefest that has characterized his media coverage for the last six years was insufferable, just wait. He understands celebrity, and because of that, he’s playing to his cheerleaders, not to the doubters.

Decisions and Consequences in Iraq


Following the apparent capture of Mosul, rumor has it that the Iraqi government is quietly asking for American air support against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Rumor further has it that President Obama has denied this request.

I don’t know what we should do about Iraq’s apparent slide into al-Qaeda-dominated anarchy (I lean toward doing nothing, but am open to persuasion). In their different ways, all the options seem terrible, be they leaving the Iraqis to their fate or re-involving ourselves in their country. There’s likely no good solution, only a series of bad ones, some of which may be marginally less awful than others.