Open thread: Obama to speak on Iraq at 4:45 ET; Update: Obama cuts Maliki loose

It’s almost 4:45 as this post is going live so you have maybe 20 minutes to get to a TV before he comes to the podium.

If anything newsy comes out of this, I’m going to guess it’ll have less to do with the state of operations against ISIS and much more to do with the state of Maliki’s legitimacy as prime minister in the eyes of the White House. Is O about to take the first step towards formally recognizing Kurdistan?


While we wait, here’s something fun from Stephen Hayes — the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency essentially accusing Obama of lying his way through the 2012 presidential campaign:

When bin Laden was killed “there was a sense that maybe this threat would go away. We all had those hopes, including me. But I also remembered my many years in Afghanistan and Iraq [fighting insurgents]…We kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place. That’s when I realized that decapitation alone was a failed strategy.”

When Kitfield asked whether Flynn felt “like a lone voice in the administration warning that the terrorist threat was growing, not receding,” Flynn acknowledged that he did and took a direct shot at one of the central claims of Obama’s 2012 campaign. “So when asked if the terrorists were on the run, we couldn’t respond with any answer but ‘no.’ When asked if the terrorists were defeated, we had to say ‘no.’ Anyone who answers ‘yes’ to either of those questions either doesn’t know what they are talking about, they are misinformed, or they are flat out lying.”

Flynn didn’t say which descriptor best fits the president.

ISIS was building an army capable of running a fledgling caliphate in Syria and Iraq and Team Hopenchange was printing “Bin Laden Is Dead and General Motors Is Alive” bumper stickers. But don’t you dare complain. You stand at attention and salute, wingnut.

Update: Are these airstrikes achieving anything?


“In the immediate areas where we have focused our strikes, we’ve had a very temporary effect and we may have blunted some tactical decisions to move in those directions, further east to Irbil,” Army Lt Gen William Mayville told reporters on Monday, providing a dour view of the “limited strikes” president Barack Obama authorized on Thursday.

“What I expect Isil to do is to look for other things to do, to pick up and move elsewhere. So I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of the threat posed by Isil.”

Update: Yep, pretty newsy. He emphasized that he and Biden phoned Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister to congratulate him and encouraged him to form a new government ASAP. The word “Maliki” wasn’t uttered once. Apparently, as far as the U.S. is concerned, the Maliki era in Iraq is over. If he doesn’t go quietly, maybe the Kurdistan era is about to begin.

Update: Heh:

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