ISIS

6 Ways Obama Contradicts Himself in Waging War on ISIS

The president's confused and confusing explanation of his new military campaign

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A year ago, before public and congressional opposition changed his mind, President Obama planned to attack the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator whom he said had to go. This week Obama switched sides in Syria's civil war by attacking the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Assad's most formidable enemy among the rebels fighting to overthrow his regime.

Confused? You should be. Obama certainly is. Let us count the ways:

1. Obama has repeatedly promised that his war against ISIS will not involve U.S. ground troops in Iraq or Syria, but Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says they may be necessary. The White House argues that armed military "advisers" who call in air strikes, serve on the front lines, and could easily become involved in combat do not count as ground troops.

2. As proxies for U.S. soldiers in Syria, Obama is counting on the "appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition" whom Congress last week authorized the Pentagon to train and arm. On Tuesday he called them "the best counterweight to [ISIS] and the Assad regime." But last month Obama told The New York Times the idea that U.S. assistance could turn "an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth" into an effective fighting force "has always been a fantasy."

3. Obama says U.S. military assistance will be limited to "moderate Syrian opposition forces." According to the bill approved by Congress, "appropriately vetted" rebels do not include groups linked to terrorist organizations such as the Nusra Front, a Syrian branch of Al Qaeda. But as the Times points out, "even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front."

4. Running for the Democratic nomination in 2007, Obama declared that "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." Although Obama admits ISIS does not pose such a threat, he says he does not need congressional authorization to wage war against it.

5. Obama brags about ending the "dumb" and "rash" war in Iraq, which he says was based on a trumped-up threat. But he also says that war has not really ended, citing the 2002 authorization for it as part of his argument for attacking ISIS in Iraq without seeking congressional approval.

6. "Our objective is clear," Obama claims, right before showing that it isn't. The aim, he says, is to "degrade and destroy" ISIS. But don't get the wrong idea: Destroying ISIS does not necessarily mean destroying ISIS. It could mean that ISIS is "degraded to the point where it is no longer the kind of factor that we've seen it being over the last few months." In other words, "we can continue to shrink [ISIS's] sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities, to the point where it is a manageable problem."

According to the president, then, acceptable outcomes of this war range from making ISIS less of a factor (whatever that might mean) to wiping it from the face of the planet. As additional insurance against failure, the administration says this effort will take at least three years, so seeing it through will be the responsibility of Obama's successor. Don't blame Obama if things go south after 2016!

And what about that awful Assad regime, the one Obama said must go? The arming of "appropriately vetted" Syrian rebels, according to the legislation approving it, is aimed at "promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria."

It would be terribly confusing if Assad had a place at that table, especially if he were joined by a degraded-but-not-destroyed ISIS. It is hard to believe something like that could happen—unless Obama promises that it won't.

NEXT: Brickbat: Due Process

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  1. The imperial presidency continues apace. If Republicans manage to take the Senate this fall, and Obama continues to do whatever the hell he wants, will the media ever recognize that as the mark of a tyrant?

    1. If the Republicans manage to take the Senate, maybe he’ll get impeached.

      1. maybe he’ll get impeached.

        Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. If he is impeached he will immediately become a martyr for the left (notice that his power grabs and assertions of authority that he, objectively, does not have go unrecognized by the left). Also, the R’s like power to . I do not see it likely that Congress will make a stand and retrieve power they have allowed to go to the executive.

      2. Never. He could have the IRS line up conservative non profits and shoot them on the steps of the Congress and no one would say shit.

      3. It takes 67 senators to convict. Even if the Republicans win every contested seat they won’t have 67. Nor will any Dem senator ever vote for conviction. Forget about impeachment. It’s a waste of time.

        Besides, removing Obama would result in President Joe Biden. We’d be trading a charlatan for a buffoon. I don’t see the upside.

        1. Besides, removing Obama would result in President Joe Biden. We’d be trading a charlatan for a buffoon. I don’t see the upside.

          At this point, I’d take Biden over Obama any day of the week and twice on Sunday. At least the press conferences would be a hoot.

  2. Obama’s not contradicting himself at all, since his fundamental principle is FYTW.

    1. I thought it was “Look out for number one”?

  3. The fact that you can’t understand how all The President’s statements and initiatives mesh into a coherent and brilliant strategy, worldview and plan for action says everything about you, Sullum, and nothing about The President (PBUH).

    I recognize that He is beyond the rest of us. Apparently you don’t yet. I wouldn’t confess my ignorance so publicly.

    /sycophants who STILL exist despite all the evidence that Obo is a fucking maroon

    1. Exactly. It’s all a brilliant strategy in Obama’s 4D Vulcan chess.

      1. try 5D – DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE GREATNESS OF HIM!

        1. Obamessiah, forgive me, for I have sinned.

        2. 5D? Ye of little faith! He’s clearly playing 11D chess. We mere mortals just can’t comprehend His genius because He’s operating at the quantum field level of spacetime while we’re barely able to comprehend three-dimensional anti-de Sitter space.

          You can repent by saying five Hail Obamas, or you can continue spreading your heresy and I can chop your head off, what’s it gonna be?

  4. He’s been contradicting himself in every speech since 2008.

  5. “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

    Obama’s great inconsistencies only how broad minded he is! All hail Obama!

    1. Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

      1. I love juxtaposing that slogan with another of his:

        “We can’t wait!”

        “Yes, we can!”

  6. OT: The Imperator graces us with wisdom

    http://news.yahoo.com/obama-of…..20746.html

    “I was just discussing with President Clinton — if Chelsea begins delivery while I am speaking, she has my motorcade and will be able to navigate traffic,” Obama said, drawing chuckles at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

    “Actually, it’s pretty smooth for me during the week. I don’t know what the problem is — everybody hypes the traffic …. I haven’t noticed.”

    1. What a self-centered fucktard. I really, really hate him.

    2. Of course, nobody else gets free use of the motorcade.

    3. I’ve never seen anyone who more clearly believes that the Earh’s rotational axis goes through his keester than him. What a fuckhead.

  7. Kinda sorta OT: The local goodthinkers are trying to pin all of the blame for the don’t-call-it-a-war on Republicans. Note the one mention that the Obamessiah gets.

    1. Unbelievab….well, TOTALLY believable. In an “unbelievable” way.

      I actually never thought it would get this bad in my lifetime, but here we are, living through the time that – in the future – will be known as “The Retarded Period”.

      1. Have you considered the possibility that the future will be even stupider, a la Idiocracy, and that this era will be known as The Second Enlightenment?

        1. Oh, sure. “Retarded Era” segues to the “SUPER-Retarded Era”, then the “Why Do You Talk Like a Fag? Era”, the “Brawndo’s Got Electrolytes Era” and so on.

          1. I understand everyone’s shit’s a little emotional right now, but I’ve got a plan to fix everything…

            1. And you better do it all in one week, or I’ll throw your brainy ass back in prison.

    2. That is one giant exercise in “look over there”

      1. The whole I.S.I.S. thing is, in a sense.

        “Sure, we lied to you. Sure, we broke the law. We’re spying on every one of you. You have no privacy, fuck the Constitution. The guys who lied to Congress about all this, they’ll suffer no consequences. Why? FYTW.

        “What, you don’t like that? Uh… look over there! TERRORISTS! WORSE THAN AL QAEDA! KILLING CHILDREN! RAPING WOMEN! BEHEADINGS! THEY’RE COMING RIGHT FOR US!”

  8. According to the president, then, acceptable outcomes of this war range from making ISIS less of a factor (whatever that might mean) to wiping it from the face of the planet.

    If you are allowed to chose a range as the answer to a query, then you should chose the largest range possible. Then you will not, technically, be wrong. With this he will be able to claim “success” no matter what happens.

    1. Indeed. I’m planning on either retiring as a billionaire or with 17 bucks. I anticipate success.

  9. Ah, a Confucrat in charge of a Confusocracy.

  10. Oh, please.

    Obama is the Bobby Fischer of foreign affairs.

    You guys are just racist.

    1. I hope that’s true, because then he’ll live out the rest of his life as a hermit.

  11. Well, maybe only as contradictory as Rand Paul is about military interventions overseas.

    1. contradictory as Rand Paul…

      Contradictory? I believe he hast stated that he is generally against foreign intervention while leaving open as an option. I also believe he has stated that he would trouble himself to go through the established Constitutional procedure before deploying US military forces in an offensive manner.

    2. Jackand Ace|9.24.14 @ 9:26AM|#
      “Well, maybe only as contradictory as Rand Paul is about military interventions overseas.”

      Didn’t take long for a lefty ignoramus to try a tu quoque, did it?
      Hey, dipshit! Rand Paul didn’t start a war.

      1. If Rand Paul becomes President, I am sure he will start a war somewhere, and you will probably think he was just wonderful in doing so.

        1. Pretty sure that starting a war is a violation of NAP regardless. If he were to respond to an attack, that is another thing altogether.

          Why do I bring this up? Because I have a feeling you’ll try to move the goalposts if the time ever comes.

          1. ace_m82

            Speak English. Your attempt to be cute in communicating something to me is stupid.

            1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.24.14 @ 2:53PM|#
              “Speak English”

              Learn to read.

        2. On The Road To Mandalay|9.24.14 @ 11:23AM|#
          “If Rand Paul becomes President, I am sure he will start a war somewhere, and you will probably think he was just wonderful in doing so.”

          Shitstain’s on form today!
          Hypothetical tu quoque, followed by worthless prediction!
          You really shouldn’t waste bandwidth proving your stupidity.

          1. Sevo,

            Your responses to my comments are getting really boring. You need some new material. In this case, you need to tell me why your hero Paul would not get the U.S. involved in a war somewhere. What makes Paul so special that he would not order the forces somewhere because of a threat – real or imagined? As usual you have no argument for any of your responses to my comments or those of anyone else you choose to attack on this site. Tell everyone why Paul is such a great man, and why he should be President.

            1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.24.14 @ 2:58PM|#
              “In this case, you need to tell me why your hero Paul would not get the U.S. involved in a war somewhere.”

              No, you need to tell me why you can’t prove you don’t have sexual relations with goats.

              1. Great response.

                Sevo

                Hi there, asshole.

                Have a great day down at the trailer park, with all of your trailer trash buddies, you fucking moron.

                Your response proves what a fucking idiot you are.

                Carry on, scrotum brain. You need to consider suicide, so I can mark your file DSAF – Did Society A Favor.

                So long, you worthless piece of shit.

                1. Carry on, scrotum brain. You need to consider suicide, so I can mark your file DSAF – Did Society A Favor.

                  You need to consider getting cornholed by a pack of gang-bangers, so I can mark your file GWTD–Got What They Deserved.

        3. Another proggie tactic: Projection.

    3. If elected president, would Rand Paul would be more or less likely to start bombing the shit out of someone than Obama has, based on Paul’s statements so far and Obama’s documented actions in Libya and now against ISIS?

      1. Probably less…one can hope.

  12. Wrap it up dude, Ill take it.

    http://www.CryptAnon.tk

  13. my friend’s sister makes $60 hourly on the internet . She has been out of work for 6 months but last month her pay check was $19915 just working on the internet for a few hours. you can try this out………….

    http://www.Works6.com

  14. How about this contradiction? (I prefer hypocrisy):

    7. Candidate Obama in 2007 attacked President Bush claiming he was “just air raiding villages and killing civilians” – http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po…..iding-vil/

    President Obama in 2014 Promises “No Boots on the Ground” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..92044.html

  15. Breaking news!
    Obo is a lying bastard!

    1. Does this mean that you are not a fan of President Obama?

  16. Gee, I’m starting to get the impression that maybe electing an incompetent empty suit president might have been a bad idea…

  17. What a person says BEFORE he becomes President of The United States, and what he does AFTER he becomes President, are usually contradictory. Nothing new here. Presidents are not infallible. They are no different than other people when it comes to changing their minds about any one of a number of issues. I’m sure someone has written a book about every President since George Washington, with examples of how the positions of Presidents changed on a number of issues during their administrations. The next President will get the same criticism from a variety of sources accusing him/her of contradictions. This site is an anti-Obama site, so most everything that Obama says or does will be wrong anyway.

    1. Worthless apologia for Obo from lefty twit.

      1. No worries, I’m sure that’s its last post ever…

        1. Loki,

          Dream on.

          1. So we’ll be treated to more bloo-bloo-bloo about how unfair it is that Obama’s being criticized?

            1. Red Rocks Stupid

              Not at all. Criticize Obama all you want. If you think that is the premise of my original post, than you really are stupid.

              1. Right–that’s why you’re crying like a little bitch that he’s being criticized.

      2. Tell everyone why I am a “lefty”. Define lefty. Truth of the matter is that you assume that anyone who does not agree with you is a “lefty”. What is your political position?

        1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.24.14 @ 3:00PM|#
          “Tell everyone why I am a “lefty”.

          Waddles, quacks, swims; duck. How much evidence do you think anyone needs?

          1. SEVO

            A LOT MORE THAN YOU ARE PRESENTING. YOUR STATEMENT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT MY ACTUAL POLITICS. I MADE A STATEMENT SUGGESTING THAT EVERY PRESIDENT DOES AND SAYS THINGS THAT ARE CONTRADICTORY, FOLLOWED BY YOUR USUAL MORON COMMENTS. HOW IS IT THAT YOU FIGURE I AM A “LEFTY” BY SAYING WHAT I DID IN MY ORIGINAL COMMENT? WHAT SET YOU OFF? GUESS YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO GO AND FUCK A DUCK, WON’T YOU?

            1. Not enough CAPS!

              1. Fuck you!

    2. This site is an anti-Obama site, so most everything that Obama says or does will be wrong anyway.

      Reading comprehension, how does it work?

      1. Doctor Whom,

        And your point is? Tell me what your point is, or shut the fuck up, you moron. Prove to me that reason.com is NOT an Obama bashing site. Prove this to me, you asshole.

    3. This site is an anti-Obama site, so most everything that Obama says or does will be wrong anyway.

      U mad, shit-fetishist?

      1. Red Rocks Rockin,

        That’ it? Nothing else to say? Your comment is typical of most of the morons posting on this site.

        Have a nice evening down at the trailer court, you fucking moron.

        1. That’ it? Nothing else to say? Your comment is typical of most of the morons posting on this site.

          Your comments are typical of the slobbering masses for President Butt Naked.

          Have a nice evening down at the trailer court, you fucking moron

          Have fun squeezing your cysts, loser.

    4. “What a person says BEFORE he becomes President of The United States, and what he does AFTER he becomes President, are usually contradictory.”

      Yet that didn’t stop the left from absolutely obliterating Bush for not following what he said before 9/11.

      1. Rufus, I hope this doesn’t cover what you already know.
        During WWII, the Allies in the Pacific decided to bypass Japanese bases, since they really didn’t control much area and there was no reason to waste lives and treasure reducing them. They simply became training targets for newbies.
        So I’m guessing we can properly presume Mandalay is actually Rabaul for those who wish to take aim at defenseless stupidity.

  18. Let’s see now. I suggested that just about every President of The United States has made contradictory statements, and taken actions contrary to what they had said they would do, and so on. My comments were then followed by the usual semi-literate responses posted by the usual morons. Not one of the responses to my original comment had a counter argument to make.

    This is typical of what I have seen on most news sites where the general public posts comments on articles written by various professional writers. Most of the responses to the articles from Town Hall, The Nation, National Review, and so on, seem to be written by people who can’t seem to get past the one liner stage of English Composition. Of course Reason.com is no exception.

    What a shame that so many people in our society today are so damn dumb that they can’t seem to write much of anything coherent about anything. What a waste of time most of these news sites are. It has certainly been a waste of my time. However, it has been a real education to actually see (in print) how many semi-literate people exist out there.

    With that said, I will now wait for the usual stupid responses to my above comment to start filtering in, which of course will prove exactly what I have said. Bring it on, you dunces.

    1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.24.14 @ 3:40PM|#
      “Let’s see now. I suggested that just about every President of The United States has made contradictory statements, and taken actions contrary to what they had said they would do,”

      Yes, you made excuses for that lying piece of shit.

      1. Sevo,

        I take it you do not believe that just about every President of The United States has made contradictory statements during his administration? If you don’t believe my comment, then post a response indicating that what I said is not true, and why. If you can’t refute my statement then you really are stupid.

        I dare you to tell me that my statement is not historically correct. I am not saying that Obama does not make contradictory statements, because he does. What I am saying is that he is not the only President who has done this.

        Yes, I know you don’t like Obama. However, I am not making excuses for him one way or the other. I am saying that other Presidents have also made contradictory statements and taken wrong actions, domestically and in foreign policy.

        Counter my statement with a productive argument or shut the fuck up! I bet you can’t do this, because your are so eaten up with hatred or every thing a post, that all you are capable of is the usual moron stuff you post.

        I’ll be waiting for your intelligent response, which I seriously doubt you are capable of posting.

  19. SEVO,

    I challenged you to refute my statement that every President of The United States (and not just Obama) has made contradictory statements, during his administration.

    Nothing at all to say? I’m surprised, because you usually post your comments very quickly after I have said something about one of the articles on reason.com

    I think that all you are really capable of is posting mostly one liner “literary farts”, because you are basically an undereducated person who likes to mock those who hold opinions contrary to yours, but who is unable to express himself in words beyond a few grunts.

    As such, you are not unlike millions of stupid slobs who populate this country. All you can really do is eat, sleep, fornicate, and poop. You must think you are a fucking genius when you post comments on this site. But the truth is, all you will ever be is a fool, and a moron.

    See you around. Always fun posting with you, ace.

    1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.24.14 @ 7:08PM|#
      “SEVO,
      I challenged you to refute my statement that every President of The United States (and not just Obama) has made contradictory statements, during his administration.”

      You seem very confused.
      It is not my job to respond to your imbecilic claims.
      You seem to think that claiming the lying bastard in the WH might be almost as competent as Bush makes some difference to anyone other than lefty assholes like you.
      It doesn’t. Look up “tu quoque”; maybe you’ll see why people laugh at you.

      1. Sevo,

        You really are stupid aren’t you. Somehow you believe that I am comparing Obama to Bush. Wrong! I’m saying that EVERY President of The United States has made contradictory statements. Some are worse than others. If you think Obama is worse in that area, then say so. That’s my question to you.

        Once again, you can’t answer because of your irrational hatred of Obama. Also, you keep calling me a lefty, when you don’t know anything about my political position. You assume that anyone who doesn’t hate Obama must be over on the left somewhere. Again, you have not answered my original question. You really are stupid as Hell.

  20. This moronic punk contradicts himself each time he opens his pie hole. PERIOD!

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