President Obama’s word of choice to describe his approach to dealing with ISIS is “degradation.” He threatens that the United States will “degrade” ISIS to render it a “manageable problem” or to destroy it. As he continues to circle verbally around the “problem,” we’re not sure which. But we’re sure his speechwriters are on the case. The White House has posted the text of Obama’s third stab at articulating his approach to ISIS, at the NATO Summit press conference yesterday.
“Degradation” is an evocative and appropriate word, more for what Obama has accomplished here at home than against the terrorists threatening the United States.
The president has degraded the high office he holds.
He has degraded our armed forces.
He has degraded our foreign policy, betraying friends and supporting enemies.
He has degraded the language (“reset,” “red line,” “decimate,” “on the run”).
He has degraded our public life, marshaling the resources of the federal government to stigmatize and hound his political opponents.
He has degraded our public finances. God forbid we have to respond to a national emergency that stretches the need for federal revenue beyond what current spending requires. See, for example, Christopher Demuth’s NR essay “Our democratic debt” (behind NR’s paywall).
He has degraded our respect for personal responsibility, promoting access to welfare and foot stamps and the whole panoply of federal support programs.
He has degraded our respect for law and for legality.
The degradation seems comprehensive.
In “President Coward” (video below), Bill Whittle memorializes recent moments that will travel far with us along our road.