The PJ Tatler

Obama Denies ISIS Gaining Strength: Says They Are 'Contained'

Here’s a remarkable bit of laughable stupidity by the president. From the same guy who called Islamic State the “JV” last year comes another giggle-worthy pronouncement on the progress we’re making to “defeat and destroy” them.

ABC’s Good Morning America broadcast an interview conducted by faux journalist George Stephanopoulos after a drone strike took out “Jihadi John.”

Stephanopoulos asked Obama if ISIS was gaining in strength, to which Obama denied they were.

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama responded. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”

“What we have not yet been able to do is to completely decapitate their command and control structures,” he admitted. “We’ve made some progress in trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters and part our goal has to be to recruit more effective Sunni partners in Iraq to really go on offense rather than simply engage in defense.”

“Pay no attention to that terrorist group behind the curtain!” the president might say. But for the record, Islamic State has been “gaining strength” throughout our bombing campaign. ISIS is continuing to capture territory in northern Syria, and, of course, they just took Ramadi a few months ago in Iraq. Either the president is getting horrible military briefings or he’s deluding himself.

I guess what happened in Paris yesterday kind of makes Obama look like an idiot for saying they’re being “contained.”

But you might wonder about Obama moving the goalposts on what our ultimate strategy is.

A year ago, President Barack Obama talked a big talk when it came to the so-called Islamic State, declaring that the United States and its allies would “degrade and ultimately destroy” the group that had seized large territories in Iraq and Syria.

But this week, even with the victory in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar and the news that ISIS’s most famous executioner Mohammed Emwazi—best known as “Jihadi John”—was likely killed in a U.S. drone strike, Obama struck a very different tone.

Gone were the buzzwords “defeat” and “destroy.” Instead, Obama said the U.S. strategy had always been to “contain” the group, a subtle shift in language, and another indication that progress against the group has been far more difficult to achieve than originally envisioned.

From the start, our goal has been first to contain them, and we have contained them,” Obama told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in a Thursday afternoon interview that took place before the strike against Emwazi.

But when Obama first told the American public a year ago about his strategy, he said it was to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.

In that speech, Obama acknowledged that it would take time to defeat ISIS, but the conditions he described on Thursday conveyed a fight that could take more than a generation to resolve.

How does he get away with this crap? A reporter on CNN this morning happened to mention the “contained” comment and the anchor called the president’s words “ironic.” Not “stupid.” Not “ridiculous.” Simply, “ironic.”

And don’t hold your breath waiting for a reporter to point out the president’s 180-degree alteration of our ultimate goal in Syria from “defeating and destroying” ISIS to “containing” them. In their zeal to protect Obama from his own stupidity, they only reveal themselves to be the partisan hacks they truly are.