Open thread: War president to address nation after targeting ISIS, Khorasan in Syria

Barack Obama will address the nation at 10 am today to issue a statement on the war in Syria. The expectation will be that Obama will explain the new offensive and brag a bit about the coalition that is taking an active part in the attack, but not stick around long enough to have to answer some tough questions about its legality:


President Obama plans to speak Tuesday morning about the U.S. strategy against ISIS, following overnight strikes in Syria, a White House official said.

The president will speak at 10 a.m. ET at the White House before leaving for New York.

The United States and several Arab nations rained bombs on ISIS targets in Syria — the first U.S. military offensive in the war-torn country and a forceful message to the militant group that the U.S. would not stand by idly while it carried out its rampage of terror.

At first blush, the strikes look to have succeeded in the sense that the targets were hit and the coalition suffered no losses. Whether or not this impacts ISIS’ command and control functions and/or its ability to seize more ground will take longer to assess. The timing of this address may indicate some caution at the White House about getting out ahead of its oars on the war; a 10 am statement instead of a prime-time address at the start of the offensive keeps the profile lower and expectations perhaps a little more manageable.

CNN gives a good overview of the effort so far in Syria, including the attack on the Khorasan group:

In the aftermath of the strikes last night, both France and Russia have raised questions about the legality of the attacks. Some here at home are doing the same, not by international law but by constitutional authority. Congress didn’t get a chance to approve these strikes, which has some claiming this to be an illegal use of power by Obama. However, Congress didn’t do much when Obama bypassed Capitol Hill on Libya, and at least in this case Obama has more claim on a legitimate threat to American security with ISIS. Perhaps this is another reason Obama included Khorasan in the targets, as both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue have grown increasingly concerned about that new al-Qaeda threat.


Obama will likely have a few words to say about legality, with emphasis on few. I’d expect to get a relatively brief statement — no more than ten minutes — that stresses the breadth and diversity of the coalition for this offensive. Don’t expect to hear much about Turkey, though. As for his sudden status as a war president in Iraq and now Syria too, don’t expect Obama to brag about that at all.

Over/under for the start of the statement: 15 minutes late. Let the betting commence.

Update: A “Mission Accomplished” moment coming?

I certainly hope this is true, but it seems a little early to reach that conclusion.

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