Obama’s Vacation Wars
During the Libyan War, Obama declared from Martha’s Vineyard that, “Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point.”
Then he went to play golf and accompanied Valerie Jarrett on a visit to the home of the CEO of Comcast.
It was August and the Libyan War had been going on for months. NATO planes were conducting hundreds of sorties. But their commander was on vacation.
That was only fitting since Obama had begun the Libyan War while hanging out in sunnier climes.
His ponderous announcement, “Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya” may have had an American flag in the background as stage dressing, but it was actually delivered from a Brazilian convention center.
Obama’s war announcement was made on the first day of his Latin American trip as if he had either made the decision to bomb Libya at the very last minute or he didn’t care enough to postpone a foreign trip for a day to be able to make the announcement from the White House.
The Egyptian military seemed to have picked up on Obama’s priorities when it decided crack down on his Muslim Brotherhood allies while the great man was vacationing in August at Martha’s Vineyard.
Obama had headed off on his vacation even though Egypt was burning. As the New York Times put it, “Mr. Obama was briefed on the situation by his national security adviser, Susan E. Rice. But he appeared determined not to allow events in Egypt to interrupt a day that, besides golf, included cocktails at the home of a major political donor, Brian Roberts.”
Brian Roberts is the aforementioned CEO of Comcast. By the time Obama could tear himself away from golf and his Comcast sugar daddy, hundreds were dead and it was all over but the shouting.
This August, Obama at least had the good grace to announce belated air strikes against ISIS from Washington D.C. before flying off to Martha’s Vineyard for yet another vacation.
Vacations have become the framework for Obama’s wars. As soon as he goes to war, he gets as far away from the White House as he can and heads in the direction of the biggest beach he can find.
These vacation wars only add to the sense of unseriousness surrounding his military efforts.
Obama’s wars begin with an announcement that he is “weighing” or “considering” his options. This is a process that can, as in the case of Syria, continue indefinitely.
It’s entirely possible that while vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard in August 2015, Obama will suddenly put down his slice of blueberry cake at the Beach Plum Restaurant and startle the CEO of Comcast along with other patrons by announcing that we begin bombing Damascus in 5 minutes.
Congress and the public are left out of the loop in these weighty deliberations which seem to consist of Obama holing up with Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett and a bunch of Washington Post and New York Times editorials to decide whom he should bomb and whether he should bomb anyone at all.
Meanwhile his targets have had months and sometimes years to prepare for being bombed.
George W. Bush was accused of being an irresponsible cowboy, but it’s Obama who seems to go to war on a whim.
Obama was talked into bombing Libya by Hillary Clinton, but she couldn’t talk him into bombing Syria. He dithered endlessly over Afghanistan, sending mixed signals and replacing generals. In Iraq, he proved every bit as indecisive when it came to extending the presence of US forces. Each time he committed to a war, it was only after prolonged dithering and for unserious reasons.
Why did Obama finally decide to begin bombing ISIS? The New York Times quoted a senior administration official as saying that he was worried about the political impact of another Benghazi.
That’s not leadership, but it’s also nothing new from a politician who came up with ObamaCare out of a last minute need to have something to show off for progressives. Whether it’s gay marriage or illegal alien amnesty, Obama has a track record of suddenly committing to a culture war after years of pressure out of fear that if he doesn’t do something, everyone will realize that he has no idea what he’s doing.
His wars follow the same pattern.
Obama rarely goes to war on his own initiative. Instead after he gets hit with enough criticism from the Washington Post and the New York Times, he finally signs off on air strikes against someone.
Once the air strikes begin, the enemy discovers that Obama likes the idea of minimal force. Kerry promised that the air strikes on Syria would be “unbelievably small” in response to Assad’s violation of Obama’s WMD red line. But if your air strikes are going to be unbelievably small, why even bother?
Bill Clinton also had a penchant for useless unbelievably small strikes that accomplished nothing. These strikes didn’t stop Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein or Al Qaeda because Bill Clinton, as he admitted on the day before the September 11 attacks, was too worried about collateral damage.
The collateral damage from Clinton’s failure to take out Osama bin Laden however ended up being thousands of American lives and countless numbers of Afghans.
Now Obama is launching his unbelievably small strikes against ISIS’ borrowed armor while neglecting targeted strikes against its leaders. The Pentagon has already admitted that the air strikes will not have a significant impact on ISIS, possibly preventing it from advancing further, but without rolling it back.
In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, Obama gave the impression that he wanted to keep his distance from any war even while risking American lives. Going away right before a war is one of his ways of avoiding any association with the conflict.
Obama will show up for the victory dance when the war is over, but if things change then he just as quickly disavows his part in the war.
Or even in the ending of a war.
After building his 2008 campaign around pulling out of Iraq and his 2012 campaign around patting himself on the back for eventually doing it, Obama has now shifted over to blaming Bush for his own withdrawal from Iraq. If Obama can’t even take credit for his signature anti-war policy once it becomes even a little bit controversial, it’s obvious that he will do anything to avoid being held accountable for the pursuit of an actual war.
That is the mindset from which “unbelievably small” air strikes and vacation wars come from.
Obama’s failure to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda in Iraq after the withdrawal allowed ISIS to regroup and emerge at the head of a Sunni coalition. Obama claimed that Al Qaeda in Iraq, despite having killed countless American soldiers over the years, was just a JV team. And so he left ISIS free to operate until it was actually a day away from committing genocide. Then the air strikes and the vacation began.
If ISIS is beaten, then Obama will cheerfully come back from vacation to take credit for it. His perpetual campaign will issue commemorate mugs and shirts. If ISIS isn’t beaten, it will turn out that Bush snuck into the White House and ordered air strikes on ISIS while Obama was golfing at Martha’s Vineyard.
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