Nate Jackson / November 13, 2015

Obama on Islamic State: I Got ‘Em Whipped

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength.”

> Update: Hours later, Islamic State terrorists in France proved how very, very wrong Obama really was.

Eighteen months ago, Barack Obama called the Islamic State the “JV team” and said we needn’t worry about them. A year ago, Obama blamed intelligence failures for the completely unforeseeable (wink, wink) rise of the Islamic State. He also said then, “We don’t have a strategy yet” for how to deal with the terrorist threat. (Yeah, abandoning Iraq for political reasons can leave you short of options.) But then came “Operation Inherent Resolve,” the pathetically transparent name Obama gave to a few bombing raids to show he meant business. Three months ago, we learned that intelligence analysts were pressured by senior Pentagon officials to skew their reports on the Islamic State to provide more optimistic assessments of U.S. progress against the terrorist group. And that’s not to mention the entire Benghazi episode, in which Obama (and Hillary Clinton) lied about the attack on the U.S. consulate entirely to preserve the narrative that Obama had “al-Qaida on the run.”

So you’ll forgive us if we take his comments to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos with a truckload of salt.

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama said of the Islamic State. “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 it — they’ll come in, they’ll leave. But you don’t see this systematic march by ISIL across the terrain.” In fact, he boasted, he and his crack national security team crafted a strategy that “contained the momentum that ISIL had gained,” though he conceded problems will fester “until we get the Syria political situation resolved.” His plan there is to, well, send 50 Special Forces troops and otherwise let Vladimir Putin handle it. Either way, don’t worry; Obama’s got it all under control. He even killed Jihadi John — what else do you want?

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