I think President Obama sold himself short when he said, repeatedly, that he didn’t have a strategy to deal with ISIL. I think he has an objective, in support of which he has a clear strategy. His objective is to get past the midterm elections without paying a price for the chaos in the Middle East that his fecklessness has produced. His strategy is to “do something” in the form of a modest bombing campaign, combined with arming selected Syrian moderates (if there are any left).
Obama doesn’t expect this strategy to succeed, if by “succeed” you mean stopping the threat from ISIL. But he does think that its failure won’t be undeniable between now and November. Thus, his strategy will help stem the only threat he cares much about, the one posed by Republicans.
Michael Ramirez makes the point visually; click to enlarge: