Pentagon Warns Of Islamic State Obama Once Downplayed

Islamic State fighters sit on a captured 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer during a parade in Raqqa, Syria, on June 30, 2014. AP
Islamic State fighters sit on a captured 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer during a parade in Raqqa, Syria, on June 30, 2014. AP  View Enlarged Image

Islamic State: A campaigning president assured us that al-Qaida was in retreat and its Syrian spin-off was just “JV.” Now the Pentagon admits that this al-Qaida spawn is worse. The U.S. never had to allow this situation.

To get an idea of why this White House has placed America in what Senate Armed Services Committee ranking Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma calls “the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation,” we turn to one of Obama’s biggest mainstream media devotees.

In “The Promise,” the fawning book about Obama’s first year in office by ex-Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, we read of a May 2009 meeting with the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan on how to “Disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida.”

Alter writes, “Nothing much concrete was accomplished … . The session was kicked off not by a military officer or a diplomat but by the secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack,” who discussed “water rights, slowing soil erosion, and planting new seeds. . .. It was one example of the administration’s new thinking.”

You just can’t make this stuff up. No wonder the president in January was calling Islamic State “a JV team” lacking “the capacity and reach of a bin Laden.”

That nonsense is fully exposed now, as Obama’s own military advisers use public pressure to shake him out of his self-absorbed Martha’s Vineyard complacency.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warns that IS “has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision” and “will eventually have to be defeated,” necessitating “a coalition in the region.”

Obama’s own Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, invoking the 9/11 attacks, warns that “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,” and we should take a “cold, steely hard look.”

Even the New York Times, on its front page Friday, admitted that Obama has “not publicly articulated a detailed strategy to stop the group.”

Marine Gen. John Allen, a top commander in Afghanistan now with the liberal Brookings Institution, in a Defense One article this month seemed to speak directly to Obama when noting the U.S. is “the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence and strike capacity to deal with IS.”

“It’s worth remembering the Taliban provided the perfect platform from which al-Qaida attacked the U.S.,” Allen wrote, and they were “cavemen in comparison to IS.”

Allen cautions that a broad alliance of Kurds, Sunnis and Free Syrian resistance groups will be needed to beat IS. Only the U.S. can orchestrate it.

Obama knew of the threat of this al-Qaida mutation last year but downplayed it. “I was elected to end wars, not start them,” he said.

It simply may not be possible for such a nonleader to assemble and lead a regional coalition in war.

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