Video: Obama’s the “Underestimator in Chief”

posted at 3:21 pm on August 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Seven months ago, Barack Obama dismissed ISIS as the junior varsity of al-Qaeda. During the intervening time, the terrorist army has declared a caliphate in Syria and western Iraq, committed ethno-religious cleansing in Mosul and the Nineveh province, wiping out ancient Christian communities, and has an ongoing genocide in progress on Mount Sinjar. The Kurds can barely hold the line on their autonomous enclave, while Baghdad looks ripe to fall — if the ISIS army doesn’t drown them first by blowing up a dam in Mosul.

Ron Fournier boiled this down yesterday on Fox New Sunday to one highly appropriate line:

“This is a president who underestimated ISIL- he called them JV, he underestimated what was going to happen after Libya…, he underestimated Putin, he underestimated several other areas…He’s been the underestimator in chief,” he said.

He cautioned, “We can’t afford for the president to underestimate this threat…I wish I was more confident that the president really understood the threat to our homeland…”

And Fournier wasn’t alone, either. On NBC’s Meet the Press, Andrea Mitchell accused the White House of ignoring the intelligence warnings about ISIS and its strength, especially in relation to the Kurdish Peshmerga. Newsbusters’ Jeffrey Meyer has the transcript, which includes remarks from Chuck Todd that prompted Mitchell’s withering critique:

CHUCK TODD: This was not an administration that was not eager to tell Maliki, you don’t want a strategic forces agreement? But your original question is what did we learn about the doctrine? And I think that I’ve been trying to figure out this man’s doctrine now for six years. He doesn’t have one. He ran basically with a wink and a nod that this was going to be a George H.W. Bush type of foreign policy, stability and diplomacy first. Okay? And yet he has been pulled in different directions. His instinct actually is very George W. Bush like, which is democracy, freedom. You know, he doesn’t want, no winners and losers.

So look at the way he had intervened early in the Arab spring and then he realized boy that was a mistake. I mean, it’s almost like he pushes and pulls between the idea of democracy first versus stability first. And he goes back and forth and he’s messed around with democracy first in Egypt, didn’t work, in Libya, didn’t work. He admits it now. And now he’s trying for stability first. And I think in this case he’s struggling, he doesn’t have a doctrine.

ANDREA MITCHELL: But right now he’s tactically, he’s being held hostage to endless negotiations to get Maliki out. And to decide that you’re not going to do anything until you have a government is to wait forever, and is to permit ISIS to do what it has done. And to say he that didn’t have intelligence. This is not a hard target. This is Irbil. We have people there. The fact is, there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn’t listening.

Todd is also correct, and gets closer to the actual issue. Obama doesn’t have a foreign policy outlook, other than to be seen as the anti-W. His foreign policy has been entirely reactive; Obama seems to reject even the idea that America should shape outcomes outside our borders. Dismissing ISIS as the JV made it easier to dodge any responsibility to stop their march through Iraq at the time and insist that the Iraqis could handle the job. Now Obama is ordering a handful of airstrikes, which does little to solve the strategic crisis in the region, as Dianne Feinstein and the Washington Post both warned over the last few days.

It’s that same impulse that has Obama claiming that the withdrawal of American troops was not his fault — despite spending most of the last three years taking sole credit for that withdrawal. Andrew Malcolm reviews the record for Investors Business Daily:

Barack Obama, Oct. 21, 2011: “As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end — for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world. …A few hours ago I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki….We are in full agreement about how to move forward.

“So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year….The tide of war is receding….

“Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq — tens of thousands of them — will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home….We’ll partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

“As I told Prime Minister Maliki, we will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces….There will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq, and the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant….Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings…..I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”

Also at IBD, editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez puts an exclamation point on the argument of Obama’s callowness:

ramirez-mission-accomplished

Americans (and everyone else) may well wonder just what claims Obama will make in the future, too, only to claim he never made them at all.

If we can’t rely on competence in our own government, we can occasionally be grateful for the incompetence of our enemies. The Belfast Telegraph reports that 22 ISIS terrorists got killed when a suicide-bomber training session turned into a cautionary tale instead [see update -- old story]:

An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.

The accident was a source of dark humour for locals, with suicide attacks in public spaces having become an almost daily occurrence in Iraq.

A bomber struck a falafel shop near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad last week, and when told of the bungled training demonstration by the New York Times, Raad Hashim, who works at a liquor store near the site of the bombing, burst out laughing.

“This is so funny,” he said. “It shows how stupid they are, those dogs and sons of dogs.”

On a more serious note, he added: “It also gives me pain, as I remember all the innocent people that were killed here.”

“This is God showing justice. This is God sending a message to the bad people and the criminals in the world, to tell them to stop the injustice and to bring peace. Evil will not win in the end. It’s always life that wins over death.["]

It’s not the first time this has happened, and won’t be the last, but it’s still worth noting when it does. Let’s hope for a lot more wardrobe malfunctions like this in the future.

Update: I thought this story sounded a little too familiar.  This actually happened in February, and the Belfast Telegraph has now deleted the story.

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.


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Bishop!!!

timberline on August 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

And he was as right on Iraq as he was with everything else…

…Which is to say, he flat out Failed.

2016, are you here yet?

BlaxPac on August 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.

Sort like the that comedian and his puppet.

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Retro Mondays and a blast from the past.

Wow, REAL America seems mighty upset @ BHO for having his silly SOTU speech tonight! Bring back the good old days where the Decider used it as a platform to talk about WMD’s and IMMINENT THREATS (boo!).

Ahh, the good old days…

KeninCT on January 24, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Boy that decider sure was a dummy, eh Ken?

HumpBot Salvation on August 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Raad Hashim, who works at a liquor store near the site of the bombing, burst out laughing

I’ll bet you’re popular with ISIS.

John the Libertarian on August 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.

LMAO…! Achmed, was that you?

Oh, you silly goose!

:tussles hair:

BlaxPac on August 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

I’m less worried about the ‘under-estimator in chief’ than those who voted for him twice.

Ricard on August 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Now, if Obomba could just drive his golf cart into the deep end of the pool.

vnvet on August 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

I am really beginning to not like this Obama fellow.

307wolverine on August 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Barack Obama: “The future must not belong to those who insult the Prophet of Islam”.

Mirror, mirror on the bloody wall, who is the most like Mohammad of them all?

Why your are ISIS, you are!

VorDaj on August 11, 2014 at 3:39 PM

That’s a good campfire story about the explosive vest.Obama and his crew will be laughing when they start going off here.

docflash on August 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

“we weren’t honest about how we got into Iraq.”

FU Ron Fournier.

PackerBronco on August 11, 2014 at 3:42 PM

There is one solution with ISIS terrorists, and there is no other… They must be annihilated from existence, every single one of them, no one should be spared, no injured or prisoners, all of them must be killed… Regarding the story of the ISIS terrorist blowing himself up by mistake in a training accident, I really doubt it… How can the outside world knows about an accident inside an ISIS terrorist camp? Ironically this highly doubtful story falls under the title of this article about “underestimating” our enemies…

mnjg on August 11, 2014 at 3:42 PM

An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.

In a rather macabre turn, this reminds me of the only genuinely funny part of An American Carol, when they’re showing the terrorist training video about the suicide bomber who is on time to his target versus the one who is running late, and the late bomber is furiously pedaling his bicycle before the timer goes off and he goes, “oh shi-”BOOM

The Schaef on August 11, 2014 at 3:42 PM

An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.

Sounds like a metaphor for Obama’s, Hillary’s and Kerry’s foreign policy.

VorDaj on August 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

I am really beginning to not like this Obama fellow.

307wolverine on August 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

It’s easy! Just have a doctor remove most of the higher-reasoning parts of your brain, develop a terrible dose of low self-esteem and start smoking lots of pot. You’ll be hero-worshipping in no time.

John the Libertarian on August 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

The Obama Doctrine is simply to dither, obfuscate, blame others, and then when the political winds become headlong, to do as little as possible to shift the narrative in a more favorable direction.

That’s it. And it applies to both foreign and domestic policy.

Because that’s how a community organizer operates. Solving problems essentially is a letter of resignation for community organizers. Without problems to bellow about, they have no worth whatsoever.

BKeyser on August 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM

His instinct actually is very George W. Bush like, which is democracy, freedom.

Thanks for the laugh of the day, Chuck.

rbj on August 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Obama say “Yawwwwwwwn. Fore!”

/Idiot – he destroyed America and Iraq. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits.

Key West Reader on August 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

The Obama Doctrine is simply to dither, obfuscate, blame others, and then when the political winds become headlong, to do as little as possible to shift the narrative in a more favorable direction.

That’s it. And it applies to both foreign and domestic policy.

Because that’s how a community organizer operates. Solving problems essentially is a letter of resignation for community organizers. Without problems to bellow about, they have no worth whatsoever.

BKeyser on August 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Exactly correct… What else do we expect from the most incompetent, most ignorant, most partisan, and most immature President in the history of our Republic, and by far more than any other President… The man is a welfare queens agitator who belongs in inner city Chicago agitating the parasites and not in the most powerful job in the world…

mnjg on August 11, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Todd is also correct, and gets closer to the actual issue. Obama doesn’t have a foreign policy outlook, other than to be seen as the anti-W

I disagree. I think one of the principles of our Faculty Lounge Leader is that a strong U.S. presence is destabilizing and thus to achieve harmony among nations we must become just another nation in a community of peace-loving countries.

PackerBronco on August 11, 2014 at 3:53 PM

An Isis commander at a terrorist training camp north of Baghdad accidentally detonated a belt packed with explosives during a demonstration in front of a group militants on Monday, killing himself and 21 nearby trainees.

That story is false. Mediate did a pretty good job showing that is is a rewrite of another story from February that someone is rewriting for Iraq.

It actually never happened in Iraq.

We have enough ammunition against IS and all the stupid and horrible things they have done, and there is no need to invent more. Propaganda is not needed against IS. The truth is good enough.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/story-of-isis-bombing-instructor-blowing-up-class-is-just-a-rewrite-from-february/

coolrepublica on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

OT….Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq.”

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

and start smoking lots of pot. You’ll be hero-worshipping in no time.

John the Libertarian on August 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

You could roll the entire state of Colorado and you STILL wouldn’t be high enough to justify the last 6 years of this gang.

BlaxPac on August 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Shia vs Sunni. This might be it to much larger war and in several countries.

ConflictReporter ‏@MiddleEast_BRK 2m
#BREAKINGREPORTS IS started its attack on #Baghdad. Suicide car bombs and battles on the city’s outskirts.

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Obama foreign policy: Blame Bush.
Back up foreign policy in the Mid East: Support the Muslim Brotherhood.

albill on August 11, 2014 at 3:58 PM

OT….Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq.”

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Thursday: Obama announces air strikes
Saturday: Obama discusses Iraq and leaves for vacation
Monday: Obama discusses Iraq

Obama is worried…

airupthere on August 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Americans (and everyone else) may well wonder just what claims Obama will make in the future, too, only to claim he never made them at all.

” I wagged the dog and then I ate it ”
??

burrata on August 11, 2014 at 4:03 PM

ConflictReporter ‏@MiddleEast_BRK 2m
#BREAKINGREPORTS IS started its attack on #Baghdad. Suicide car bombs and battles on the city’s outskirts.

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 3:58 PM

I honestly wonder where Iran is in all of this. I am very surprised they would allow Baghdad and their ally al-Maliki to fall. I’d have expected them to have invaded by now.

Nightmare scenario: Iranians aren’t acting because they don’t think they can stop ISIS.

Doomberg on August 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

OT….Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq.”

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

I am laughing out loud; laughing at our brilliant president.

esr1951 on August 11, 2014 at 4:06 PM

“This is a president who underestimated ISIL- he called them JV, he underestimated what was going to happen after Libya…, he underestimated Putin, he underestimated several other areas…He’s been the underestimator in chief,” he said.

Obama did not underestimate these animals, his handlers did, he is clueless on pretty much everything. He chose to hear what he wanted to hear from his handlers and ran with that thinking it would be a good idea to call these godless monsters the JV team. Remember it is the world that disappoints Obama, not the other way around.

All is well…………….

Johnnyreb on August 11, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Obama doesn’t have a foreign policy outlook, other than to be seen as the anti-W. His foreign policy has been entirely reactive; Obama seems to reject even the idea that America should shape outcomes outside our borders.

O’s foreign policy outlook has been formulated in the same manner as his domestic policy outlook. It reflects those who were his mentors, advisers, and friends – from Frank Marshall Davis thru Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.

This view is based entirely that, in their view, this is a fundamentally broken country. Unjust, unfair, misogynistic, racist, and the source, via it’s ‘meddling’ and ‘imperialism’, of all of the problems around the world.

His foreign policy is based on righting what he sees and defines as the country’s past wrongs (including those who are our friends and allies), along with his misguided belief that he can mollify and appease our enemies via his self-perceived strength of his own charisma, ego, and intelligence.

When one starts with a fundamentally and massively wrong position, any future decisions based on that position will themselves be fundamentally and massively wrong.

Athos on August 11, 2014 at 4:08 PM

OT….Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq.”

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Oh man I’m so excited
;-)

burrata on August 11, 2014 at 4:10 PM

When you say that BO doesn’t think America should shape outcomes OUTSIDE our borders, I think you give the scope of his view too narrow a target. I think his Border policy shows that he feels America should not shape outcomes WITH our borders as well.

I often think that he wishes he could hold onto office long enough to be the last American President. My only question is whether he hopes to achieve this by being the first King or by ending the USA.

It is quite beyond incompetence in my view.

OBQuiet on August 11, 2014 at 4:11 PM

I honestly wonder where Iran is in all of this. I am very surprised they would allow Baghdad and their ally al-Maliki to fall. I’d have expected them to have invaded by now.

Nightmare scenario: Iranians aren’t acting because they don’t think they can stop ISIS.

Doomberg on August 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

The Iranian islamic terrorist regime cares far better about Syria than Iraq… ISIS terrorists are not going to be much worse than Saddam regime for the Iranians… They are used to the fact that Iraq was always hostile to them except in the last 3 or 4 years with Maliki turning into a fool stooge for them… For them it is all about keeping their stooge Assad in power in Western Syria and their Hizballah terrorists in control of Lebanon…

mnjg on August 11, 2014 at 4:11 PM

I’ve got a nickel and a penny (thats $.06 for you anti-mathists) that says Obama doesn’t take any questions.

BobMbx on August 11, 2014 at 4:12 PM

OT….Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq.”

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Another empty rhetoric and photoop from the most incompetent President ever just to show that he is working hard while vacationing… Everything for this utter fool is empty rhetoric and photoops, that is how he got elected and that is how has governed…

mnjg on August 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

OT….Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq.”

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Oh man I’m so excited
;-)

burrata on August 11, 2014 at 4:10 PM

College Basketball season? Or Air Force One has a flat?

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

I’m going with mnjg on this. Photo Op to the LIV trying to prove he’s working while golfing and going to the beach.

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM

How long did we have to hear about Abu Garab? Yeah and I don’t care if I spelled wrong.

Cindy Munford on August 11, 2014 at 4:19 PM

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Great, so it will really be a 6 p.m. in time to mess up Special Report.

Cindy Munford on August 11, 2014 at 4:20 PM

College Basketball season? Or Air Force One has a flat?

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Got an eagle on the 10th?

Report of skinny dipping with Biden?

Signs EO banning Uber?

BobMbx on August 11, 2014 at 4:20 PM

OT… Fox just said O is going to make a statement at 4:45pm today on the “situation in Iraq”.

CoffeeLover on August 11, 2014

_________________________________________________________

Obama will arrive at the presser in a punt.

profitsbeard on August 11, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Our Faculty Lounge Leader has to show up today even if he has nothing to say, otherwise the only visuals of him will be golfing.

PackerBronco on August 11, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Well one thing is certain ISIS is a strong horse. The question is who is going to stop the strong horse?

“When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse”

Osama bin Laden

The somewhat exhausted American military currently undergoing a RIF and politically correct makeover?

Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain?

Viator on August 11, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Neither ISIS, nor Ukraine, nor the economy will keep Jugears from his appointed rounds (of golf)

txdoc on August 11, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Why bother anymore with pressers? The right knows he’s lying and the left doesn’t care because he’s so dreamy.

John the Libertarian on August 11, 2014 at 4:33 PM

I honestly wonder where Iran is in all of this. I am very surprised they would allow Baghdad and their ally al-Maliki to fall. I’d have expected them to have invaded by now.

Nightmare scenario: Iranians aren’t acting because they don’t think they can stop ISIS.

Doomberg on August 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

First, Iran is not an ally of Maliki. Iran doesn’t have as much influence on Maliki as people would like to believe. He is after all a Bush appointee not an Iran one. The Iranians have expressed their desire at the highest level possible that they wanted Maliki to go and save the unity of Iraq.

Khamenei has stated that their red line is if their holiest sites in Iraq are threatened. They are in Najaf and Karbala, Iraq.

Do not look forward for any overt Iranian intervention unless you see Islamic State advancement toward those cities.

coolrepublica on August 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Why bother anymore with pressers? The right knows he’s lying and the left doesn’t care because he’s so dreamy.

John the Libertarian on August 11, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Feeding the MSM and LIV. Gotta keep the propaganda machine and base stoked.

He looks at these, not as a press conference, but just campaigning.

Athos on August 11, 2014 at 4:42 PM

I honestly wonder where Iran is in all of this. I am very surprised they would allow Baghdad and their ally al-Maliki to fall. I’d have expected them to have invaded by now.

Nightmare scenario: Iranians aren’t acting because they don’t think they can stop ISIS.

Doomberg on August 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

You could be right. Iran has not had any serious conventional threat since GW1. The structure of their armed forces is all offensive and mostly concentrated on Israel. Their air force is crap because they can’t compete with Israel, so they let it fall apart. Ditto land and armored forces, because they can’t march to Israel. Everything they have has been poured into missiles and nuclear weapons development and irregular forces like hezblahblah and the IRG.

Could they put together a couple of armored divisions with experienced officers and soldiers? Anyone know?

slickwillie2001 on August 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

BlaxPac on August 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Nice catch.

“I KEEL YOU!”

Closet Optimist on August 11, 2014 at 5:34 PM

FLASHBACK: Obama Promises No Vacations For Himself As President [VIDEO]

Schadenfreude on August 11, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Sort like the that comedian and his puppet.

Oil Can on August 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM

You mean this guy ??

cableguy615 on August 11, 2014 at 5:49 PM

It can be applied to “a smidgeon of corruption”, “your taxes will not go up”, “if you like your plan”, and so many more.

He isn’t stupid, he’s just fed bad data.

You’re with me on this, right?

formwiz on August 11, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Obama has abdicated the historic role that the US president held as leader of the free world.

He just doesn’t care.

paulbriggs on August 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM

(Nouri al-Maliki) is after all a Bush appointee not an Iran one.

coolrepublica on August 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

*sigh*
libfreeordie on August 10, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Newtie and the Beauty on August 11, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Elect a political hack from Chicago…..and then all the elite intellectuals are SURPRISED they ended up with a crap sandwich.

GarandFan on August 11, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Key West Reader, I wish the sand flies would infest a different part of his anatomy.

Tinker on August 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM

What’s up fellow Michiganders? That was one hell of a rain storm, wasn’t it? Hope you and your families are all safe.

NotCoach on August 12, 2014 at 9:08 AM