President Barack Obama, addressing the ISIS threat in January 2014:
The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.
Obama, September 2014:
Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it’s no longer a threat—not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest talking to reporters last week:
We are in the degrade portion of this operation.
Dov S. Zakheim writing for The National Interest just two days later:
Containment is a messy solution to an awful problem, however, there is none other in sight. The Obama administration, its strategy, if ever there was one, now in ruins, its credibility at an ebb, is left with no other choice.
And in today’s Wall Street Journal, Kevin Connolly feels the need to explain how to keep ISIS from taking Baghdad. He says it will require a mix of strategic air power, “ruthless” and large-scale special operations, capturing and interrogating ISIS leaders to develop solid human intelligence, and — of course — sending in US ground forces. But even Connolly concludes:
If the administration whistles past the graveyard and insists its policy is working even as ISIS nears Baghdad and our diplomats there, the White House may face a debacle that makes Benghazi seem minor in comparison.
In other words…
…minus the kind of air war the President won’t order, a scale of spec-ops he won’t risk, the kind of interrogations he won’t approve, and the sending in the ground troops which would destroy his legacy as the President who ends wars…
…minus all that, it seems more than possible that Baghdad will fall.
It is unlikely that the Iraqis will get their act together. But it seems impossible that POTUS will either.