Obama Prepared For Immediate Airstrikes On Syria


#1

To absolutely no one’s surprise, President Obama is signaling his ambition to make war on Syria under the guise of attacking ISIS. He may or may not discuss this in his speech tonight at 9pm Eastern Standard time.

President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president in recent days.

Obama discussed his plans at a dinner with a bipartisan group of foreign policy experts this week at the White House and made clear his belief that he has the authority to attack the militant Islamist group on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border to protect U.S national security, multiple people who participated in the discussion said. The move to attack inSyria would represent a remarkable escalation in strategy for Obama, who has sought during his presidency to reduce the U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.

Administration officials have been working in recent days to enlist the support of the nation’s political establishment to help sell their strategy to the American public, which Obama will address in a prime-time speech Wednesday night. The president met with the top four congressional leaders Tuesday, while his aides held briefings on Capitol Hill.

The intensity of the outreach amounted to a tacit acknowledgment by administration officials that they have been slow in formulating a strategy to confront the militants and in conveying that vision more broadly. The Islamic State controls wide swaths of territory in both countries, but the United States has so far limited its military engagement to Iraq, as Obama has been reluctant to intervene in Syria’s civil war.

Obama is committed to taking the fight to the Islamic State “wherever their strategic targets are,” said Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense for policy who was among those at Monday’s dinner.

“This is not an organization that respects international boundaries,” said Flournoy, who left the Obama administration in 2012 and now serves as chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. “You cannot leave them with a safe haven. . . . I expect him to be very candid.”

There is no indication that a U.S. strike in Syria is imminent, and the Obama administration has signaled that a stepped-up U.S. effort in Iraq, in conjunction with an international and regional partnership, is probably the first step in combating the Islamic State’s advances.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment for this article, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at his daily briefing Tuesday that the Islamic State is “essentially operating in a virtual safe haven in Syria. That’s a dangerous situation.”

Many congressional Republicans, as well as some Democrats, have criticized Obama as being too cautious. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Tuesday that “what we need is a strategy,” while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech before meeting with the president that Obama “needs to explain to Congress how additional authorities of the use of force will protect Americans.”

After the meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday, Boehner was supportive of some of what he heard. The speaker’s office issued a statement saying, “The Speaker stated he would support the President if he chose to deploy the military to help train and play an advisory role for the Iraqi Security Forces and assist with lethal targeting of ISIL leadership.” (The Islamic State is also known as ISIL or ISIS.)

Obama informed lawmakers during the session that he did not need new authority from Congress to pursue his approach to countering the threat posed by the Islamic State, according to congressional leadership aides.

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney made his case for more-aggressive intervention in Iraq in a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday, but many of the newer, more libertarian members of the GOP conference seemed unmoved.

The article continues online…

washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-prepared-to-order-airstrikes-in-syria-as-part-of-strategy-against-islamic-state/2014/09/09/058199e2-3834-11e4-bdfb-de4104544a37_story.html


#2

Obama to Pledge ‘Relentless Effort’ to Destroy ISIS

President Obama is set to address the nation tonight in a major speech laying out his most detailed plan yet to confront the vexing problem of ISIS, the militant group that executed American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria and terrorized civilians in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

“Tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama will tell the American people, according to advanced excepts of his remarks provided by the White House.

The speech comes exactly one year after another pivotal presidential speech urging a targeted military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people.

As he did one year ago, Obama will also seek to allay the concerns of war-weary Americans that this will not be a long-term commitment of U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”

abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-pledge-relentless-effort-destroy-isis-address-nation/story?id=25407383&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter


#3

They have been doing aerial surveillance for awhile now. Pentagon really only does that when the president has asked them to make up a target list.


#4

US intelligence is independent of the President and has been conducting aerial surveillance for some time. I think Generals and such are largely deciding military moves now seeing the debacle that leaving Iraq turned out to be.


#5

Upon seeing the OP, particularly the part where Boehner was all supportive, the image of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown came to mind.

Not sure why. :wink:


#6

It’s not our fight.

We’ve already poured $6 Trillion U.S. dollars into Iraq and Afghanistan so the people there could have purple thumbs.

It isn’t worth a dime more.

The two journalist’s who were killed by ISIS ** voluntarily **put themselves in harms way as part of their job.

There’s no workable military solution to this situation.

Time to make peace with the Caliphate and say Goodbye and Good Luck to the Iraqi and Afghanistan people and stay out of the Middle East and use the money to restore our roads, public libraries, and museums and protect and defend our Border with Mexico instead which needs defending,

ISIS has no Navy and perhaps just a handful of airplanes and jet fighters.

They’re not a military threat to the United States.

Only if and when they actually attack the U.S., should we respond militarily.

No preemptive wars this time around because of nothing.


#7

So we should just sit down and watch Christians be butchered? Let this radical group grow and become more of a menace? You do realize they are beheading CHILDREN???


#8

We already sat Over There for years and the U.S. Military and Bush II, the so called Christian Compassionate Conservative President, as he was touted, let the Christians, including the Chaldean Catholics and their Cardinal, be wantonly murdered, kidnapped, blown up, and raped as the U.S. Military sat mostly idly by.

After flushing down $3 Trillion in Iraq, training the Iraqi Army for years, and seeing then President Maliki’s huge Iraqi Army of hundreds of thousands of men dissipate before a few tens of thousands of ISIS fighters, it’s clear that the Iraqi People don’t even want to defend their country.

You can’t win a war with a native population that doesn’t want to fight; only delay the inevitable fall.

Meanwhile, we have an undefended Border along Texas and Arizona and mobs of people entering our nation illegally.

Mexico is like Afghanistan on our Border, with a civil war between criminal drug gangs and the Mexican Government.

I really feel sorry for the Iraqi Christians and they are facing genocide but it’s a little too late to stop it.

I think all the blood and $3 Trillion we spent and totally wasted in Iraq is already way way too much.

We gave the Iraqis democracy, we trained their army, we built them schools and hospitals and infrastructure.

It’s up to the Iraqi People and perhaps some of the other countries in the Middle East to take care of ISIS now.

There’s no benefit to gain for the American People and our nation by participating in Gulf War III.


#9

The US military wanted a presence in Iraq until 2020, Obama campaigned to get us out and that was his priority. He overruled the generals even when they told him that the Iraqi army wasn’t ready and the US needed to be there to keep Maliki in line. Here is what the Baghdad Bureau Chief said the other day about Obama’s goal of getting out of Iraq when he did:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent – with the fall of mosul – that iraq was collapsing.

reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2fu159/im_tim_arango_baghdad_bureau_chief_for_the_new/ckcrxcd


#10

Read Peter Beinart’s article from a few months ago in the Atlantic (not a conservative magazine) about Obama’s history Iraq.

Obame had one goal as president as far as Iraq was concerned and that was to bug out, no matter what. He did it, made a big deal of it too as I recall. But it left Iraq hanging (as I posted at the time here at CAF.)

Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker (not a conservative magazine) has written about how a residual US force would have kept Maliki in check:

“We used to restrain Maliki all the time,” Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, the deputy commander in Iraq until January, 2011, told me. “If Maliki was getting ready to send tanks to confront the Kurds, we would tell him and his officials, ‘We will physically block you from moving if you try to do that.’ ” Barbero was angry at the White House for not pushing harder for [a Status of Forces] agreement. “You just had this policy vacuum and this apathy,” he said. “Now we have no leverage in Iraq. Without any troops there, we’re just another group of guys.” There is no longer anyone who can serve as a referee, he said, adding, “Everything that has happened there was not just predictable—we predicted it.”

The American ambassador at the time told Filkins that he and his staff got no guidance from the White House while they were trying to negotiate an agreement with Maliki. “[T]hey wanted to leave,” said Iyad Allawai, “and they handed the country to the Iranians. Iraq is a failed state now, an Iranian colony.” And now we’re going to be fighting on the Iranian side against the Wahhabi monster our absence helped create, a prospect so dismal and dangerous that even the famously hawkish David Frum thinks we should leave ISIS alone for fear of empowering Iran even further. Obama checked out on Iraq and now, thanks to his neglect, he has no choice but to check back in under the worst circumstances.
Read the Beinart piece. That’s how we got here.

hat tip for idea for post


#11

…you know what really gets me angry (righteous anger that is), is when I hear that the U.S army wishes to launch military strikes on places such as Syria and areas where there are innocent civilians but at the same time ensuring the safety of its own soldiers. Rockets when fired, no matter how accurate they say they are, are not, and blow up little children and women.

I thought people who joined the army were supposed to defend people and risking their lives was part of the job THEY chose to sign up for. Apparently, it is not about the civilians, it is all about protecting the West’s own interests. This is all it ever is.

If the U.S army wants to do something, with real honour, why don’t they go on foot into Iraq and start saving all those women and children being brutally tortured and murdered. - armed defence! Why not? Because it is not about the civilians, it is, as usual, about the West’s own interests.

The world should have already gone to the rescue of tortured women and children in Iraq.

The world should put all its resources towards efforts helping Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

The U.S needs to stay well away from being missile-happy in regards to Syria and defend in Iraq on foot.


#12

Did you listen to the speech? What about all of those Yezhidis we helped on the mountain they were stranded on? We helped them and they thanked us. Who else went out to help them?


#13

I am talking about the ones right now being tortured and murdered in Iraq.

If they are helping Yezhidis then so they should be. Why the big speech. This is exactly the sort of thing they should always be doing. There are plenty of Christian refugees not receiving the help they need. Many nuns and priests and religious are doing a lot of the work with refugees.

Let’s save the self-praise and pats on the back when ISIS have caved.


#14

We can kill 'em all (won’t happen) and a few years later, there will be another group like this, and another, then another, then another. Maybe once we’ve seen this for the fourth or fifth time, we’ll realize that.

The Middle East is basically unfixable.


#15

The U.S. Air Force will ratchet up the airstrikes on 9/11.


#16

The West messed so the West must fix.

I think prayer can do it. I believe it was prayer that made Putin, maybe unbeknownst to him, tell Syria to stop using chemical weapons. Pope Francis had urged prayer that very week for that very cause and again had consecrated the world to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Coincidence - no chance! As Christians we must always believe there is hope. Where it is impossible for man, it is not impossible for God.

Prayer on a Mass scale and/or armed defence in Iraq. Surely it has to be. Otherwise, we have death of huge proportions staining our conscience.


#17

Right, so in the meantime, stuff the rest if the world? Very Christian! Solidarity? Oh, stuff that? Stuff our own faces instead, right? Very Christian!


#18

Lol that may be true on the level of discrete actions, ie, we helped cause this one historical storm over there, but the Middle East is infected with a cancer and has been long before the US ever saw the sands of the Middle East.

Even if there had never been any US intervention in the Middle East–ever–something like this would have happened sooner or later.

I agree, we must have Christian hope, but faith does not require us to believe stupid things about problems that American military power cannot and never will solve.


#19

I see the angle you are coming from. I thought this way. But then I saw images off tortured women and children the other day on a catholic website and it did something. It changed me in some way. I am not saying that I agree with violence. But there is I believe an unjust aggressor and this evil needs to be stamped out. But what I am proposing is not a war. The idea of military strikes seems wrong anyway. Why can’t the U.S go in by foot in armed defence. Not to attack but to defend and get the civilians out of there? It would not have to be another Afghanistan because they would not be looking to stick around. Just going there to fetch the civilians. This would take some fighting no doubt but the aim would be clearer and possibly cleaner. And prayer as well changes things. It can change hearts. God saves. God rescues.


#20

Lol you can’t fix this problem militarily. The only way this can be solved is to either remove Christians from the Middle East–unpopular in and out of the Church–or destroy the ideology that informs these attackers. The latter is really really really hard and I don’t think it’s doable.

re bold: it won’t be


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