Ladies and gents, welcome once again to The Obama Semantics Game. Speaking from the White House on Thursday, the president detailed his plan to send 300 so-called “military advisers” to Iraq, while simultaneously insisting that there will not be a return to “combat” in the region.
“American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq,” he claimed. “But we will help Iraqis take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well.”
Okay, fair enough. But then came the kicker: “Going forward, we’ll be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine the situation on the ground requires it. If we do, I will consult closely to Congress and leaders in Iraq and in the region.”
Wait, what? “If we do”? I thought he just said that we WON’T be returning to combat!
This, in a nutshell, represents everything that’s wrong with Barack Obama’s feckless leadership, especially as it relates to foreign policy. Because he’s too frightened of his own base to take a stand, he’s trying to have it both ways…and giving himself an “out” should the initial plan not go as he hopes. It also demonstrates his sheer inability to make any cut-and-dry definitive decisions. When he speaks to the world in such a dithering manner, it not only makes him look weak; it makes the United States as a whole appear weak. Obama is so determined not to be like George Bush — much in the way teenagers rebel against their parents — that every move he makes is couched with a disclaimer intended to separate his image from that of the great invader.
Now, I’m not arguing that we should go in there and blast away. But Obama had better decide what he wants America’s level of involvement to be in Iraq. NBC’s White House Correspondent Peter Alexander was reporting live on MSNBC just before Obama’s remarks, and he said something that quite intrigued me: “We’re told by administration officials here, including the press secretary, that as of 30 minutes ago, the president had not yet made his mind up on what would be the right or next course of action.” Wow. I have to admit that even I, a professional skeptic, was shocked to learn that Obama essentially decided on a plan mere moments before walking out to the press. No wonder it didn’t quite make any sense.
Speaking of not making sense, the good folks over at Digitas Daily were kind enough to compile the most memorable moments of the president’s Thursday presser. Enjoy!
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