Nate Jackson / August 11, 2016

Obama’s Islamic State

From Trump’s comments to Obama’s manipulated intelligence.

Barack Obama is “the founder of ISIS,” says Donald Trump. “I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.” Thus began yet another opportunity for the Leftmedia to jump to Obama’s and Clinton’s defense, hollering, “That’s not true! Obama and Clinton didn’t found the Islamic State — they’re trying to defeat them!”

Conservative radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt gave Trump the opportunity to hone his message, saying, “You meant that he created the vacuum — he lost the peace.”

“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump insisted. “He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give [it to] her, too, by the way — Hillary Clinton.”

Could Trump have said this (or a thousand other things) better? Definitely. He’s making it way too easy for Democrats and their media allies. Besides, his own history of various positions on the Iraq war makes him a compromised messenger, too.

But, like his point about Hillary’s contempt for the Second Amendment, Trump’s core criticism is sound. Hewitt’s framing is the correct one: By cravenly abandoning Iraq to fulfill an ill-conceived campaign promise, Obama created the vacuum that allowed the rise of the Islamic State. Conservatives have been arguing this for years. Trump’s framing, however, puts that in far stronger terms. Obama is not showing “Inherent Resolve” in fighting the Islamic State. On the contrary, he seems perfectly content to largely ignore the threat to prove he’s not Islamophobic. Technically, of course, Obama didn’t “found” the Islamic State, but he sure did everything he could to clear the way for it to flourish.

And he had blinders on while he did it. The House released a bombshell report Thursday confirming what we reported a year ago: Obama was using cooked intelligence to paint a rosier picture of the Islamic State’s condition. Central Command was, almost surely to comport with his political narrative, giving reports that were “inconsistent with the judgments of many senior, career analysts.” Further, the House report found, “these products also consistently described U.S. actions in a more positive light than other assessments from the [intelligence community] and were typically more optimistic than actual events warranted.”

Obviously, Obama had a political narrative to tell — the Islamic State was the “JV team” and he had al-Qaida “on the run” because he killed Osama bin Laden. He needed the intelligence to undergird that story. Trump is merely highlighting in the most visceral terms that this is one of Obama’s biggest lies.


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