A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans think terrorism is the top issue facing the United States. Second and third place went to dissatisfaction with government and poor leadership/corruption/ abuse of power, respectively. Despite the president’s best efforts, climate change didn’t even register.
Now a new CNN/ORC poll shows that Americans are more likely to say that terrorists are winning the war against the U.S. than at any point since the September 11 attacks.
The public is broadly unhappy with the nation’s progress, with nearly three-quarters of Americans saying they are not satisfied with how the war on terror is proceeding. That figure, following terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, this fall, is well above the previous high of 61% who said they were dissatisfied in August 2007.
The poll was conducted December 17-21, several weeks after the Bernardino shootings.
Fortunately, President Barack Obama has a bold new plan to deal with ISIS. He held a National Security Council meeting at the Pentagon on Dec. 14 where he told top military officials that he wanted to see them do a better job… communicating the “narrative” of the war on ISIS to the American people.
That’s right. The Obama administration’s impossible rules of engagement (with a large percentage of U.S. military aircraft targeting ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria returning to base without firing any weapons) and the millions they spent to train and equip a tiny handful of “vetted” rebels (who will likely turn on us) are working out fine, thank you. No need to change a thing.
But in a recent interview with NPR, the president did admit that his administration could do a better job at “messaging.”
“I think there is legitimate criticism of what I’ve been doing and our administration has been doing in the sense that we haven’t you know, on a regular basis I think described all the work that we’ve been doing for more a year now to defeat ISIL,” President Obama told NPR in an interview that aired a week ago using a different acronym for ISIS. “And so if people haven’t seen the fact in that in fact 9,000 strikes have been carried out against ISIL, if they don’t know that towns like Sinjar that were controlled by ISIL have been taken back, or a town like Tikrit, that was controlled by ISIL, now has been repopulated by previous residents, then the might feel as if there’s not enough of a response. And so part of our goal here is to make sure that people are informed about all of the actions that we’re taking.”
It’s nice to hear that some towns in Iraq have been taken back. Thing is — it’s still fresh in many minds that America paid a heavy price in blood and treasure from 2003 to 2008 to secure those same towns from the terrorists. The raging dumpster fire that Iraq has become since we withdrew in 2011 is courtesy of Obama and his much vaunted “soft power” or, even more inaptly, “smart power.”It should never have been allowed to happen.
Since the Pentagon meeting with the President, senior defense officials have been working on various options for improving communication about the war, including more outreach to the media by uniformed military officials, according to a senior defense official familiar with the effort.
Well, that should be a comfort to those Americans who worry that the administration isn’t taking ISIS seriously enough. Who would ever have guessed that “smart power” would end up meaning “talk loudly and incessantly but carry a very small twig”?