Obama assures nation his political commitment to inaction trumps international security

posted at 1:31 pm on June 13, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Just before boarding Marine One on Friday, President Barack Obama took the opportunity to speak to the press about the escalating crisis in Iraq. With ISIS militants overrunning key Iraqi positions, sacking cities, and forcing thousands of U.S.-trained Iraqi troops into surrender, Baghdad has publicly asked Washington for immediate kinetic military assistance.

In response to this crisis, the president assured the nation that he has asked his staff to prepare a set of options for him in order to address this pressing and immediate military threat. To that end, as reports indicate, the United States has redirected the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush to the Persian Gulf and has been conducting surveillance flights over Iraq to identify potential targets.

However, as Obama said on Friday, his apparent commitment to the political goals which propelled him into office – namely, a commitment to American retrenchment and especially the extrication of U.S. forces from the Iraqi theater – trumps the immediate security needs of a region in crisis.

“This is not solely or even primarily a military challenge,” Obama told reporters. He placed the burden of the present crisis on the Iraqi government, which the president said has fostered an atmosphere of sectarian mistrust by excluding Sunni groups from broader representation in the central government.

Obama insisted that internal political reforms must be forthcoming. “In the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed,” he insisted.

“Iraq’s neighbors also have a responsibility to support this process,” Obama said, “The United States will do our part, but understand that ultimately it is up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems.”

Asked if the Syrian civil war is “spilling over the Iraq border,” Obama insisted that he believed that this had been “happening for some time.” Indeed. In fact, the threat of the Syrian conflict spilling over its borders was among the reasons why the United States needed to act to contain that conflict. At least, that is what the president said in his prime time address to the nation in September, 2013.

Obama added that Iraq, “which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help,” has now been scared into cooperating with the United States. As the New York Times reported, however, the Iraqi government has been asking for airstrikes since at least March. The Daily Beast reported that Iraqi officials were interested in applying U.S. airpower to the worsening situation near the Syrian border since November of last year. Instead, they received millions of dollars in American weaponry, much of which is now falling into ISIS hands as Iraqi soldiers retreat.

Again, Obama implicitly confessed to this tactical failure:

“The United States has poured a lot of money into these Iraqi security forces,” Obama insisted. “And we devoted a lot of training to Iraqi security forces.”

“The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their post against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there’s a problem with morale, there’s a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately that’s rooted in the problems that have plagued the country for a very long time,” he added.

Finally, Obama concluded by saying that, while the threat in Iraq is immediate, growing by the hour, and fast-moving, America’s response to it will be none of those things. “People should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight,” Obama said. “The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together.”

The collapse of the American strategy of providing assistance from the sidelines having become apparent, Obama remains inexplicably unable to commit to a change of course.

While political reforms inside Iraq are critical, the president’s priorities are misplaced. There is no question internal reforms in Iraq are necessary. The pressing threat to international security posed by the possible collapse of the Iraqi state, however, is not setting the conditions conducive to a prolonged reconciliation process. That comes later. The first step should be ensuring stability.

The American people do not want to reengage in Iraq, and many wish that the United States had never toppled the Saddam Hussein regime in the first place. But no one can rewrite history. The reality is that America has a responsibility for Iraq’s security today, and the president is shirking that responsibility.

The threat posed by Syrian instability is clear – it has engulfed Iraq. The threat posed by Iraqi instability is clear – it is now drawing in Iran. A regional war is now a very real possibility. The United States can engage in that theater on its terms now, or wait and engage in it on less favorable terms down the road. But, for the globe’s only superpower, there is no avoiding engagement.

The president, meanwhile, must come to terms with the fact that his legacy achievement, the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, is coming apart. But he better not take long. The world is on fire.


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matthew8787 on June 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

If you say so, but how many Iraqis flew airplanes into the Towers that day? And what evidence do we have that losing Iraq means another 9/11? I don’t buy it.

HiJack on June 13, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Errmmmm…..how many Japs bombed U.S. Naval Vessels prior to December 7, 1941?

avagreen on June 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

*(Note that while Afghanistan is rich in many resources as well, its capability of exploiting them is nowhere near that of Iraq.)

RINO in Name Only on June 13, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Historically, they did fairly well in the opium trade……

dentarthurdent on June 13, 2014 at 5:51 PM

We go in there and take our people out

HiJack on June 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Who is ‘we’. Obama has said ‘we’ are not going in. Obama is going to let them die.

faraway on June 13, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Iraqi Air Force evacuating besieged American contractors
No help from U.S. military as escape routes cut off

http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/200-u-s-contractors-surrounded-by-jihadists-in-iraq/

davidk on June 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Anybody see the story on DRUDGE of the 200 Americans surrounded by ISIS on the Balad base???

Iraq’s fled and they are the only ones left defending it, and themselves…US forces have supposedly been ordered to “stand down” with no air support planned or on the way…

This is absolutely outrageous!!!….

PatriotRider on June 13, 2014 at 3:37 PM

By Damn! I’d rather get court martialed for disobeying an order than allowing 200 Americans to die like that!!!!!. They could all just then claim insanity and “desert”, ending up in a VA hospital getting first-rate medical care like the slob that was traded for the 5 devil-besot islamists.

avagreen on June 13, 2014 at 5:53 PM

This is just more finger-pointing and dithering by Obama and his administration. This happens in every crisis on Obama’s watch. He is simply almost physically unable to act decisively.

Esaus Message on June 13, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Esaus Message on June 13, 2014 at 5:53 PM He looks like he’s high most of the time. In the W.H. we have Aan addict…… addicted to pot and sex with men (golf trips and gym meets).

avagreen on June 13, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Keep Obama in preznit, you know?

He gave us a phone!

He gonna do more!

Galtian on June 13, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Athos on June 13, 2014 at 4:21 PM

I’m pretty sure this is a possibility here, too.
I was on a Yahoo forum several years ago when one of their own was bragging about this very thing (a black man), and that “‘we’ are in your nursing homes, restaurants, libraries(?), etc. and when the switch is flipped and all goes dark, we will rape & murder you. We are backed by a very rich and important man, yada, yada, yada’…. This was during the hoo-ha about the mosque in New York being built/or not. A bunch of us (about 5-6) were talking about this and I mentioned that I was going to call the FBI.

I turned his a$$ into the FBI, and an agent then visited my home for the details. I gave him(emailed to him at his request) all the info that several of us had researched on this guy, and my screen prints of his comments. They took this very seriously.

By the time, the agent arrived here within 2-3 days when I tried to access this guy’s account the guy had changed his name and Yahoo had began erasing his comments although they hadn’t for days (almost a week) when we were turning him in for his terrorist threats. What was also interesting was that when anyone made a comment against the mosque or Islam on that thread, it was immediately deleted. Only the rants stayed. It was worse in the a.m.. The night crew would allow them to stay, but when the a.m. came around, the comments were deleted. I also told that to the FBI agent.

This type of stuff just stirs this all up with me.

avagreen on June 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Of course Barney Fife Obama (apologies to Barney Fife) doesn’t care about American lives. It’s the South Americans who need our care and concern.

Open borders, AQ and its branches rampaging throughout Iraq, a prez who doesn’t even bother to lead from behind anymore.
He got by with Benghazi, so he’ll get by with the 200 plus in Iraq.

My homeland security affairs are updated and fully funded. I hope yours are too.
There’s a storm coming and it might get very brutal.

flatlander on June 13, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Finally, Obama concluded by saying that, while the threat in Iraq is immediate, growing by the hour, and fast-moving, America’s response to it will be none of those things. “

Time for another “study”. Maybe use the same guys “studying” the Keystone Pipeline.

Give it another two weeks and we won’t have to worry. King Barack has already decided not to worry.

GarandFan on June 13, 2014 at 6:23 PM

It is 3:00 AM and the phone has been ringing for 5 1/2 years !

Lew in Colorado on June 13, 2014 at 7:58 PM

avagreen on June 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Guess I wasn’t too far off.

http://www.wnd.com/2014/02/new-terror-compound-found-in-heart-of-texas/

avagreen on June 13, 2014 at 8:31 PM

I’ve been thinking about those 200 contractors. What happens if they are taken prisoner? Will Obama empty Gitmo to ransom them back? Releasing the Gitmo Five to free Bowe may have new implications.

Tinker on June 13, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Finally, Obama concluded by saying that, while the threat in Iraq is immediate, growing by the hour, and fast-moving, America’s response to it will be none of those things. “People should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight,” Obama said.

Translation: “I have a golf game tomorrow, followed by a fundraiser, and on Sunday Reggie and I are going to …”

bofh on June 13, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Don’t you people realize that Obama has more important things to do than worry about a bunch of Arabs hacking each others heads off and screaming Allahu-Akbar. He has an major fundraiser Friday night, a golf outing on Saturday and Hollywood Celebrities for brunch on Sunday. He’s just to busy to be bothered with this nonsense, call John Kerry and have him deal with it, oh wait, he’s off reading poetry in London this weekend.

Wallythedog on June 13, 2014 at 10:43 PM

“The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their post against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there’s a problem with morale, there’s a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately that’s rooted in the problems that have plagued the country for a very long time,” he added.

I thought he was supposed to talk about Iraq, not the current state of progressive scorched earth policies in America and the sheeple that won’t fight against it. Surprising that he’d be rallying conservatives to stand up and fight against his own tyranny, but whatever….

AppraisHer on June 13, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Finally, Obama concluded by saying that, while the threat in Iraq is immediate, growing by the hour, and fast-moving, America’s response to it will be none of those things. “People should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight,” Obama said.”

Translation: I will act once the poll results are in and my political advisor, David Axlerod, and his team can analyze them for the best response.

Nomas on June 14, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Why would Obama give weapons and cash to ISIS to the tune of over 1B, and make sure weapons from Libya reached these Islamic terrorists and then ruin all of those efforts by allowing the US military he commands with the skills of a mentally challenged tribal warlord to destroy what he has already put in place?

And before you answer that, tell me again how he manages to stay in the Oval Office and out of a cell?

Hening on June 14, 2014 at 11:18 AM

His commitment to inaction is boundless.

Another Drew on June 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

And before you answer that, tell me again how he manages to stay in the Oval Office and out of a cell?

Hening on June 14, 2014 at 11:18 AM

He’s black and his ‘panic button’ is mass riots by the useless class in every major city.

Not even the most doubtful Democrat would vote for impeachment unless he or she had every friend and relative somewhere very far from any significant low-income Dem population. They are Godless and economically illiterate but I assure you their survival instincts work very well.

LawfulGood on June 14, 2014 at 4:41 PM

What an incredible loser! Typical progressive, liberal, communist, bent on the marginalization of the country he and his wife hate so much. I loathe you idiot liberals that did this to us…. but then, you must hate this country as much as YOUR preeeesiiiiideeeent/commuuuuunity ooooogaaaanizer!

ultracon on June 14, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Has the US ever before, ever, had such an obtuse idiot for a president? Obama is once again voting “present” when events call for decisive action.
There is an all-encompassing, consistent, and enduring lack of effective leadership emanating from the WH, much to the detriment of not only the US, but also the global community.

bobthm3 on June 14, 2014 at 9:00 PM

He’s black and his ‘panic button’ is mass riots by the useless class in every major city.

Not even the most doubtful Democrat would vote for impeachment unless he or she had every friend and relative somewhere very far from any significant low-income Dem population. They are Godless and economically illiterate but I assure you their survival instincts work very well.

LawfulGood on June 14, 2014 at 4:41 PM

For the sake of argument, lets say that this is true.

Essentially, this is the real meaning behind the “you are racist” response made by all Obama and Regime Policy defenders on any criticism. I’m struggling with how a sane and patriotic person would say “I would rather let the country burn to the ground rather than be called a name (“Racist”).” So the promise of mass riots spread across the country is reasonable.

Ironically, this requires the accuser of racism to fundamentally be racist in that he must believe that people with black skin can be so easily manipulated to burn down their own country to defend a guy who is committed to burning down the country by saying, in effect that the arsonist has no intention of doing what we will do if you don’t let him burn this country down. In other words all blacks must be insane or profoundly deluded to be willing to engage in a mass riot over some slight against Obama. You can’t even get the whole neighborhood to do that over a local professional sport team win or jury result against a former professional athlete. You can get a number to do a very localized demonstration, but not the whole country on fire threat that the Progressives level.

But continuing on with a real-world analog …

To exchange skin color allegiance for religious denominational affiliation, it seems that you are claiming that this country is really no different than the middle east, and The Blacks are nothing more than a hypothetical ISIS.

Or in bumper sticker terms: Blacks are terrorists led by blind devotion to Obama.

I’m not sure I am willing to go there. In my mind the “you are a racist” defense is merely a feeble minded attempt to outgroup someone – the equivalent of un-Friending someone on Facebook.

The problem is, our so-called Representatives and their staff are more akin to sadistic fifteen year old girls, not one seventh of our country are madmen terrorists supporting Obama.

Reuben Hick on June 15, 2014 at 7:41 AM

To exchange skin color allegiance for religious denominational affiliation, it seems that you are claiming that this country is really no different than the middle east, and The Blacks are nothing more than a hypothetical ISIS.

Well so long as you completely ignore a key few differences: namely that it hasn’t always been this way, the solution does not require complete subjugation or annihilation as it does with Islam, and so long as the EBT cards ring through the violence rarely spreads far in geographical terms.

Or in bumper sticker terms: Blacks are terrorists led by blind devotion to Obama.

Bumper stickers are a poor place for ideology on either side.

And if you don’t think a 5-minute speech from The Won wouldn’t raise a multi-city outrage, you are sorely deluded. This is not the America of our fathers.

LawfulGood on June 15, 2014 at 9:43 PM

obama golfs in Palm Springs today and tomorrow. Don’t disturb him.

Schadenfreude on June 13, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Golf again? This is just a code-word for another “unsupervised activity” for the dithering professor. Someone who played that much golf ought to be expert by now.

Of course, the lapdog media would love to report on how great his golf game is, but even they are not allowed this tiny pleasure.

virgo on June 16, 2014 at 1:14 AM

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