The White House and its surrogates seem to be hell bent on deflecting any characterization of the president’s ISIS strategy as a “war.”
In his recent address to the American people the president never uttered the word “war; “preferring to label his plan to defeat ISIS as a “strategy.” In subsequent press briefings White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has been resolute in deflecting any attempts by the media to label the president’s military plan as a “war.” Even Secretary of State John Kerry, when recently pressed about his efforts to bring together a broad coalition of regional partners to fight ISIS, made it a point to correct any misconception of the president’s “strategy”: “If someone wants to think about it as being a war with ISIS they can do so, but the fact is that it is a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different parts. I don’t think people need to get into war fever on this.”
Just so were clear. From the administration’s perspective it is acceptable to label the use of drones to kill al Qaeda operatives…and often innocent civilians…as part of the president’s “WAR on Terror.” But authorizing the past five weeks of 150 bombing runs at the cost of $500 million against ISIS troops…calling on Americans and congress to support the expansion of these bombing runs against ISIS targets into another country without receiving that nation’s authorization…mobilizing a broad coalition of regional partners to provide ground support…and inserting 1500 US military personnel to co-ordinate the whole operation…is not “war” but a “major counterterrorism operation.”
Why all the obfuscation? It’s simple…politics.
The White House does not want to call its latest Middle East misadventure a ‘war” because that would require congressional approval. The president, while happy to receive congressional backing for his “strategy” does not want to formally ask for congressional approval because he is afraid that he might not get it. No money…no war…uh strategy. As leader of the Democrat Party there are always elections to consider. No one in the president’s party wants to be faced with a “war” vote in an election year. Heaven forbid a vulnerable Democrat candidate might have to actually govern on the eve of an election. Being on the wrong side of a war vote can have a disastrous affect on one’s political career. Just ask Hillary Clinton. And there is always one’s legacy to consider. This president campaigned as an anti-war candidate…twice. Perish the thought that history might judge him as little more than a facilitator of Bush’s folly.
The hypocrisy in congress is cloaked in an equally bright shade of yellow.
For the past six years congress, led by House Republicans, has railed against this “imperial presidents’ abuse of his executive powers.” The Speaker of the House even filed suit against the president for extending the deadline on one component of the Affordable Care Act…an extension the Speaker would have applauded had the president been a Republican. Yet for months they have criticized the president for not doing more to blunt the ISIS threat. Apparently blowing stuff up without seeking congressional approval is just fine. Now they have the president grudgingly heeding their call; publically announcing a massive military operation against ISIS. And where is congress? Silent! Instead of backing their bluster by governing, they tuck tail and hide; afraid to go on the record during an election year.
In a rare moment of political honesty Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) summed it up: It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it (the president’s strategy) would play out in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise him (Obama) if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”
The United States Congress…a true profile in courage.
The White House and congress continue to play their political games. The fact is bombs are dropping, people are shooting, and American military personnel are being placed in harm’s way. Call it what you will…this is war. We have been at war since 9/11.
Washington is playing political word games while American lives are at risk. Technically, until congress declares it as such…this plan to defeat ISIS is NOT a “war.’ Neither was Vietnam. Ask the families of the 50,000 dead how they feel about the distinction.
Our fearless leaders in Washington!
They must thing we’re stupid