President Obama took a brief trip across the river to the Pentagon in order to hold a meeting with a subset of his national security team. Following the meeting he read a statement (transcript here, video here and below). Obama sought to reassure nervous Americans that all is well in the contest with ISIS, but his heart isn’t in it. He is going through the motions. He is pathetic.
He has been handed a poorly written script from which to read. He does not convey the least conviction in any of it. It’s hard to do much with a bad metaphor like this one: “[A]s we squeeze its heart, we’ll make it harder for ISIL to pump its terror and propaganda to the rest of the world.” If Obama controls the squeezing, it’s no wonder we have the return of “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Then he provided this meaningless update:
Coalition aircraft — our fighters, bombers and drones — have been increasing the pace of airstrikes — nearly 9,000 as of today. Last month, in November, we dropped more bombs on ISIL targets than any other month since this campaign started.
We’re also taking out ISIL leaders, commanders and killers, one by one. Since this spring, we’ve removed Abu Sayyaf, one of their top leaders; Haji Mutazz, ISIL’s second-in command; Junaid Hussain, a top online recruiter; Mohamed Emwazi, who brutally murdered Americans and others; and in recent weeks, finance chief Abu Saleh; senior extortionist Abu Maryam; and weapons trafficker Abu Rahman al-Tunisi.
He added: “The list goes on.”
I recall the weekly body count the Pentagon released to show its progress against the Vietcong during the Vietnam war. Walter Cronkite faithfully relayed it to the viewing public at the time. As Charles Krauthammer observed yesterday, Obama was giving us his version of the body count.
Quotable quote: “[P]rogress needs to keep coming faster.”
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson ponders Obama’s misconceived ISIS strategy in “Playing into the hands of ISIS?”