Obama using Americans in Iraq as ‘collateral’ to maintain Dem support for airstrikes?

posted at 10:01 am on August 12, 2014 by Noah Rothman

A grotesque accusation surfaced in the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday. It is an unconfirmed claim, and is so repulsive that the source of this assertion refused to reveal his or her identity to WFB’s Adam Kredo. It is, nevertheless, conceivable that, as this source claims, President Barack Obama is balking at evacuating American diplomatic personnel from Iraq in order to maintain support among the American left for airstrikes against ISIS targets.

One unidentified “senior Senate source” recently spoke to Kredo about a call administration officials had with their congressional counterparts clarifying the legal basis the president is citing in order to justify airstrikes on targets inside Iraq. The legal authority the president is basing this action on is somewhat dubious, particularly considering the administration’s repeated assertions that the 2002 resolution which authorized force in Iraq is defunct and should be fully repealed by Congress.

The White House appears to be claiming simply that the president has the constitutional authority to protect and defend American citizens, and he is legally empowered to execute strikes on ISIS targets if they present an immediate threat to U.S. interests or personnel. American military officials are, however, apparently prepared to interpret that which constitutes an “immediate threat” in a loose fashion.

“The administration is saying that they’re going to authorize air strikes if ISIS gets close to U.S. personal [sic] or stationed personal [sic], which in [our] mind, if there is a threat in the region you get your people out unless they’re military,” the Senate source told WFB.

And then came this startling claim:

This rationale from the White House is leading some to speculate that U.S. personnel in the region are being left in harm’s way “as collateral” because the Obama administration “can’t get his party and donor base to support further action in Iraq,” according to the source.

“That’s where a lot of the confusion is coming from” on Capitol Hill, the source added. “When there’s an imminent threat you get your civilian employees out of the region.”

It is startling to imply that the President of the United States is keeping Americans in the line of fire in order to compel his political allies to back military action in Iraq over their natural objections. While that is not impossible, it is a rather abhorrent suggestion. The president could dispel some of these rumors if he made a full-throated case for intervention in Iraq, but his tentative and hesitant approach to the crisis is inviting this kind of morale-sapping speculation.

This post has been updated since its original publication.


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I don’t go for the “anonymous” source crap, either spill it and be known or it’s just rumor.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

Bishop on August 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Abhorrent? Sure. Believable with this guy? Absolutely.

Sugar Land on August 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Ambassador Stevens unavailable for comment!!

Deano1952 on August 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Hmm. Putin uses the same twisted rationale to justify Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

Funny how that works.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Not a lot more “abhorrent” than a dozen other Mideast, border, or other political crap this moron has instigated – either deliberately or through imbecilic [but nonetheless likely deliberate] neglect.

RL on August 12, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Sounds more believable/probable than abhorrent, actually.

Midas on August 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Oh, incidentally, “crap” ‘horses**t’.

RL on August 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Sorry, HA Auto Edit/Format errors – “crap” = ‘horses**t’

RL on August 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM

It is startling to imply that the President of the United States is keeping Americans in the line of fire in order to compel his political allies to back military action in Iraq over their natural objections. While that is not impossible, it is a rather abhorrent suggestion.

You’re not suspicious of the guy who has done nothing to stem the flow of illegal immigrants who are risking life and limb to get to the Rio Grande just to get amnesty that shouldn’t be extended to them?

Gimme a break. Save the hyperbole for HuffPo.

BuckeyeSam on August 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM

So what’s new?

leftamark on August 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Horseshit?

Bmore on August 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I do not need any sources to get me to think he would
engage in this sort of behavior….Absolutely.
Anyone who thinks otherwise, hasn’t been paying attention
the last 6 years…what the hell do people think happened with Benghazi!?? We had an Election coming up, remember??

ToddPA on August 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Even with this utterly incompetent fool Obama, I doubt that this story is true…

mnjg on August 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

In his statement yesterday he did make a point of saying the strikes were to protect American citizens which at the time I thought was odd. Now it makes sense.

crazywater on August 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM

President Barack Obama is balking at evacuating American diplomatic personnel from Iraq in order to maintain support among the American left

Doesn’t surprise me. But he should have the balls to do what is right, regardless of what his party thinks. He just can’t fathom not having the support of his base. Spineless.

Patriot Vet on August 12, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Cue confirmation bias. If anything ever smelled like a political trap, it’s this.

ConservativeLA on August 12, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Anyone who tells the truth about the rat eared bastard needs to be anonymous. Otherwise the government machine will chew them up and spit them out. Behold the transformed Amerika.

captnjoe on August 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

A grotesque accusation…

It sounds like you’re saying this is not a believable accusation. I don’t know if it’s true, but it certainly is believable.

On another note: the letters WFB will always mean William F. Buckley to me, I wish you’d just say the Beacon or something instead of using that acronym. There’s always a moment of confusion when I see that. Some things, like sports jersey numbers, should be retired in honor of their rightful holders.

Fenris on August 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

These aren’t people in obozo’s eyes, they’re just game pieces to him.

Flange on August 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Come on! Why are you printing this, HA? You’ve got an obscure publication quoting an anonymous source and HA picks it up and runs with it? I know this is a political commentary site and not a news site, but let’s have at least a little bit of editorial judgement.

worldtvlr on August 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Some things, like sports jersey numbers, should be retired in honor of their rightful holders.

Fenris on August 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Amen brother, amen.

captnjoe on August 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

OK, you’ve got the vainest human being in the world being told by everybody he screwed up.

Plus, he’s bad at Do The Math.

What could go wrong?

PS What does this say about Benghazi?

PPS It may well be a crock, but what does it say about him that we even consider buying it?

formwiz on August 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Its plausible ……the man only does things politically advantageous for him

cmsinaz on August 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Why else would Americans still be in ISIS land? We can have civilians there but we couldn’t leave soldiers there?

they lie on August 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

You’re not suspicious of the guy who has done nothing to stem the flow of illegal immigrants who are risking life and limb to get to the Rio Grande just to get amnesty that shouldn’t be extended to them?

BuckeyeSam on August 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Of course not.
Rothman, like the millions of idiot voters who elected Obama to the highest office, based on nothing, are now SHOCKED at the idea–the very possibility– that Obama could be behind the dozens of scandals that have permeated this administration from the get go. SHOCKED they can’t find a job. SHOCKED that he’s burning the Constitution with every new edict. SHOCKED at the Obamacare rollout, then SHOCKED to find they can’t keep their doctor, then SHOCKED at the prices they’ll pay.
Too stupid to have seen any of this coming, they receive no sympathy from me.

leftamark on August 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Let me ask this question.

Would we be reading this story here if the President’s name was Bush and not Obama?

No?

Then perhaps we should think twice about passing on unconfirmed rumors merely because they reinforce what we want to believe.

I believe hotair wants to be a news site, if a conservative one, and not merely a place to pass on gossip. Once it’s proven with tapes and emails it will be time to discuss it and call the President to account — by impeachment, if proven. But unsubstantiated rumor does nothing except pass on someone else’s propaganda.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

pendell2 on August 12, 2014 at 10:38 AM

leftamark on August 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

It is amazing that those who claim to be political pundits and smarter than us rubes are just now waking up to the empty suit’s lies. The blowhard Bill O’Reilly comes to mind.

they lie on August 12, 2014 at 10:39 AM

PS What does this say about Benghazi?

formwiz on August 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Well, it shows that, if nothing else, Obama is consistent in being an awful president, leader and CIC…

DrDeano on August 12, 2014 at 10:41 AM

And of course, Obama, The Great Conciliator, is not going to reach across to the Republicans to build a coalition to support him in doing what needs to be done. We truly have a loser in the White House.

I guess there is a civic lesson here that presidents need to be somewhat partyless. If, as Obama is, they are so tied to their own party that they cannot figure out how to get support from the other, there is little they can get done.

bartbeast on August 12, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Does this REALLY surprise anyone?

The man is a master manipulator, and the stakes are NEVER too HIGH.

He does this for GRINS.

Armyspouse on August 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Why in the world when anyone doubt this or be shocked in any way?

forest on August 12, 2014 at 10:46 AM

So B.HusseinO. is taking a cue from Hamasholes. Using Americans as human shields.

Great job, America. Too bad you can’t elect this disgrace of a “President” for a 3RD TERM!

Meople on August 12, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Why isn’t Obama asking for congressional authorization? This isn’t Syria. If he doesn’t get the authorization, then the media will allow him to blame congress for inaction. If he gets it, then the media will allow him to blame congress for taking action.

corkie on August 12, 2014 at 10:48 AM

You know, we probably shouldn’t have re-elected this confidence man.

forest on August 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Actually Ogabe said “Mooch-s*it” but the meaning is the same…

viking01 on August 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

they lie on August 12, 2014 at 10:39 AM

And sad, that those people with those forums, and audiences and ability to spread the word, did not. BOR is nothing but a hack, never giving any credence to anybody’s opinion except his own.

leftamark on August 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM

That’s a crazy idea that only a far right wing nut would believe. It would like someone deliberately putting high powered weapons in the hands of foreign drug criminals to advance an agenda of …… oh wait…..

Genesis123 on August 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Hey, “Manipulation” is preznit’s middle name, along with “Hussein.”

ExpressoBold on August 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

its a possible vs probable issue.
its very possible its true.
its somewhat likely its probable but the source, IMO, can’t be trusted w/o secondary verifications.

dmacleo on August 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

First of all, I agree with others that HA has not business repeating this unsourced story.

Second, what’s so astounding that an American president has two choices when it comes to American citizens in harms way in foreign lands, and that one choice is to evacuate them while the other is to defend them? We put American civilians in war zones all the time, at significant risk. All this is, is speculation as to Obama’s motives. Even if the American mission is leverage for Obama to get his party to go along with his preferred strategy (assuming he has one), what are the odds that it is his primary motivation? Short of some sort of villainous expository letter admitting his dastardly plan, we can never know.

I’m going to not give a flying leap through a rolling doughnut why he has people in dangerous areas in the Middle East and focus my concern on why he allowed Iraq to go to pot and what he’s going to do about it.

Immolate on August 12, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Sounds more like a leftist looking to avoid any action in Iraq at all and working to undermine what they see as the pretext. We’ve already got permission from Iraq and an AOMF here, unless I missed something. Which is entirely possible.

Probly Rand, lol. He’s feeling conflicted about killing ISIS.

Recon5 on August 12, 2014 at 11:09 AM

You see what Noah does here? He repeats over and over how appalling this suggestion is, while advancing it with his column in its entirety. Not too appalling to repeat, of course, but he does so while taking deep cover.

Heh.

Jaibones on August 12, 2014 at 11:10 AM

“First of all, I agree with others that HA has not business repeating this unsourced story.”

Every paper in the country cites anonymous sources. At least 50% of those anon sources are official leaks. SSDD.

Recon5 on August 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

“First of all, I agree with others that HA has not business repeating this unsourced story.”

Every paper in the country cites anonymous sources. At least 50% of those anon sources are official leaks. SSDD.

Recon5 on August 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

I said “this” unsourced story, not “an” unsourced story.

Immolate on August 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM

These aren’t people in obozo’s eyes, they’re just game pieces to him.

Flange on August 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

For those of us still in Baghdad, this isn’t going to sit well if it’s actually true. Just when I think I can’t have any more contempt for this administration they once again lower the bar.

JetBlast on August 12, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Obama watched all the reports of Hamas using civilians as human shields, and said to himself “Wow, that’s a darn good idea!!!”

Tom Servo on August 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Of course! That was in the paperwork Susan Rice was going over with Obama at Martha’s Vineyard yesterday.

ctmom on August 12, 2014 at 11:27 AM

More evidence of the POTUS’s narcissism. He is willing to go to enormous lengths to keep his adoring fans happy…including putting other people in harm’s way.

It is hard for him to imagine that we don’t ALL adore him. It is absolutely untenable to risk the adoration of his remaining supporters!

A very sick man, indeed.

theosdad on August 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Seriously, for someone like Obama who thought it was JUUUST FINE to give weapons to Mexican drug cartels, knowing full well the Mexican, and likely American lives that would be lost in the process. All so he could have a little fabricated “crisis” to use to justify more gun control.

Do you honestly think that he WOULDN’T use Americans has human shields in Iraq? The man that will NOT under any circumstances cancel a fundraiser. You honestly think he wouldn’t purposely keep Americans in Iraq in order to raise money off of it?

WAKE UP.

Meople on August 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Thanks to Amb Stevens, his companions, Border Agent Brian Terry and his fellow officers being shocked, I’m not shocked that the POS REB would think of this. Never let a crisis go to watse for political manuvering.

AH_C on August 12, 2014 at 11:33 AM

For those of us still in Baghdad, this isn’t going to sit well if it’s actually true. Just when I think I can’t have any more contempt for this administration they once again lower the bar.

JetBlast on August 12, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Take care over there. I can only imagine what it must be like having to depend on the Preen Lantern for security.

Flange on August 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

What’s so strange about politician Obama using American bodies in Iraq as collateral for another of his super slick Obama plans to deal with not only politicians in Iraq, but ISIS and ISIL at the same time?

There is nothing sacred to this man. Move over Bubba. Barack has you outclassed and outdone as far an supreme dirty politics is concerned.

Obama only has one love – Obama.

dockywocky on August 12, 2014 at 11:43 AM

This was the first thing I thought when he decided NOT to remove OUR personnel – use them as fodder just a Stevens, et al in the Benghazi horror. We need Obama, his administration and every Demo, RINO and moderates who have allowed this. Where is Congress in all this? They have powers we granted them and don’t use them. People, wake up because we are going to have a big bonfire soon in the US what with this administration, a lousy Congress, and open borders!

Roselle on August 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Actually Obama’s azz is a pretty safe place to be.

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM

In order to believe this, you’d have to assume Obama actually has a plan in this or any other foreign policy situation. He doesn’t. The personnel are not being removed out the same inertia that led to the Benghazi debacle: Keep golfing and things will work out. Just don’t do any stupid stuff. Like acting as if you were President. Later, you can just claim you didn’t know anything about it until you read it in the Times. Come on, you’ll get the usual pass.

Hucklebuck on August 12, 2014 at 11:54 AM

You don’t pull your embassy staff until there is no chance the government can survive, because it sends a message to the people of that country that they are on their own.

Remember helicopters lifting off the embassy roof in Saigon? That was a symbol of American failure at all levels, military and diplomatic. President Ford may have lost the next election, but not because the American people blamed him for the Vietnam humiliation — they knew it was the fault of the Democrats in Congress, who cut off funds for assistance the US was obligated by treaty to provide.

Until his dying day, President Obama will be blaming George W Bush for everything that has and will go wrong during his administration. But if Iraq falls under the sway of ISIS, or al-Qaeda In Iraq, or whatever they call themselves, then it will be the fault of Barack Hussein Obama and no other president.

J Baustian on August 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Would we be reading this story here if the President’s name was Bush and not Obama?

Maybe not, but you’d be reading it in the NYT and WaPo, as well as hearing about in in CBS’ 8 part ‘investigative’ series on it anchored by Dan Rather.

Hucklebuck on August 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

J Baustian on August 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Obama and his Regime completely abandoned Iraq when they told ISIS and the world precisely when they were leaving. Given that they KNEW exactly what ISIS would do, Obama NOT evacuating the embassy is treasonous in and of itself.

Meople on August 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM

I said “this” unsourced story, not “an” unsourced story.

See Rather/Maples multi-part nonsense on Bush’s TANG days.

But this unsourced story is untouchable?

Hucklebuck on August 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Thank you, President Obama!

Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Until his dying day, President Obama will be blaming George W Bush for everything that has and will go wrong during his administration. But if Iraq falls under the sway of ISIS, or al-Qaeda In Iraq, or whatever they call themselves, then it will be the fault of Barack Hussein Obama and no other president.

J Baustian on August 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

The reason he’ll get away with it is because it’s what his sycophants believe. Just go to HuffPo and see all the comments from his true believers. All of them lay 100% of the blame for this failure on W.

UnstChem on August 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Why Wouldn’t King Barack use others? After all, it’s “all about Barack, all the time”. Others don’t fit into the equation. Just ask Chris Stevens.

GarandFan on August 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

wouldn’t surprise me a bit. look what he’s doing with the illegal immigrant children. their suffering is part of a political ploy too.

independent76 on August 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM

HA editorial chat room:

“It is abhorrent to suggest that 0b00ba is leaving American civilians in the path of IS just to get support from his base for airstrikes. I can’t believe anyone would suggest such a thing. Implying that 0b00ba is leaving American civilians in the path of IS just to get support from his base for airstrikes is startling. So don’t make it so obvious.”

Wildwood, NJ:

“I don’t mean no disrespect, but his sister… man, I don’t even wanna talk about what a slut she is.”

It’s called “paralipsis.” It can be done subtly. Neither of these examples is the subtle kind.

Akzed on August 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Abhorrent? Sure. Believable with this guy? Absolutely.

Sugar Land on August 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM

That’s the frightening thing. It’s not that someone would claim this – we’ve heard the conspiracy crackpots for ages, long before there was an internet. It’s that so many – after the last 5 1/2 years – would find it so easy to believe, even many who would have balked before. This is what we are talking about when we talk about 0bama destroying the Presidency and the reputation of the USA.

GWB on August 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM

pendell2 on August 12, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Someone else beat me to the “reading it in the NYT” comment.

But I do think that Noah did an AWFUL job of writing this. It comes across as so hypocritical. It the very suggestion is abhorrent, then don’t report it until you have some more faith in the source. Or at least argue that it needs to be considered. His moaning about it is too reprehensible to believe while providing some minor support for it being fact come across as someone trying to get credit for the news if true but avoiding the blowback if false.

YOU can’t have it all, Noah.

I personally don’t find it that hard to believe. I see BO sacrificing hundreds to violence at the border so why not here too? I DO HOPE I am wrong but it would no longer surprise me to be right.

OBQuiet on August 12, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Why wouldn’t obama risk American lives?
Let’s face it, even IF he was legally born in America, his culture was/is not American.

Tard on August 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

I’m sure Killary will weigh in with her two cents right after she gets through applying ice to her last rebuke from the WH.

Kissmygrits on August 12, 2014 at 1:18 PM

It is startling to imply that the President of the United States is keeping Americans in the line of fire in order to compel his political allies to back military action in Iraq over their natural objections.

No price is too high to keep the campaign dollars flowing.

Oxymoron on August 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

It happened in Benghazi.

bigGwillie on August 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM

The White House appears to be claiming simply that the president has the constitutional authority to protect and defend American citizens, and he is legally empowered to execute strikes on ISIS targets if they present an immediate threat to U.S. interests or personnel.

Unless a Youtube video is the source of the hostilities.

el hombre on August 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Nah, not buying it. In any organization, silly rumors will abound, especially when they are about someone who is not popular. I’m guessing that the “source” was talking about such rumors. I have huge disagreements with the President and (sadly) I think he is incompetent in dealing with most foreign and domestic issues … but I don’t think he’s a monster. Dishonest? Yes. Monster? No.

Grinch on August 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

The resolution that permitted Bush to invade Iraq is still in force as far as I know. So what’s this question about Obama being or not being able to act further in Iraq all about? He has the authority. He’s not acting for purely political reasons. He’s a moral crud.

{+_+}

herself on August 13, 2014 at 5:25 AM

It is said that being President is a lonley job. Meaning, the president has to make unpopular decisions that please nobody but must be made for the good of our nation. But for Obama, he can’t be alone, he simply must have some support from somebody for every decision he makes. He is simply not a leader but rather he is a follower, this is just a stark example of it.

Dollayo on August 13, 2014 at 5:46 AM