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Publius / December 15, 2015

Leader Low on Resolve Attempts Smack Talk

Obama: “Our next message to them is simple: You are next.”

Speaking at the Pentagon, the commander in chief with an approval rating that has steadily declined since the beginning of September made an attempt to talk smack against the Islamic State. “As we squeeze its heart, we’ll make it harder for ISIL to pump its terror and propaganda to the rest of the world,” Obama said in a follow-up to his Oval Office speech. “ISIL leaders cannot hide and our next message to them is simple: You are next.”

The only thing that’s changed is the rhetoric. After the recent attacks on the West, Americans are increasingly worried about Obama’s strategy against the group, a strategy the chief executive only doubled down on Monday, naming off a list of eight Islamic State leaders that coalition airstrikes supposedly killed. Obama continued, saying the Islamic State has not made any major advancements in Iraq and Syria since the summer. So we’re winning, right?

According to commentator Charles Krauthammer, it’s the same rhetorical trick presidents used to convince Americans the Vietnam War was a success. Meanwhile, the Islamic State struck San Bernardino, Paris and downed a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula. “When you have to resort to statistics,” Krauthammer said, “he has a list of people whom we’ve killed, as if anyone has any idea who they are. It’s reminiscent of the strategy of the Vietnam War where we would announce the body counts — the ratio of dead Vietcong to Americans. It was always lopsided, and we lost the damn war because that’s not how you gauge who’s winning or losing a war.” But hey, smart power demands committing to a failing strategy, holding out until someone more experienced can take over.

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