It's funny how President
For instance, for years, Obama boasted about how he ended the
Then, over the summer, as one Iraqi city after another fell to
On Sunday night, the always-congenial Steve Kroft of CBS' "60 Minutes" noted comments by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. Clapper said, "We overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi army, to fight."
"That's true. That's absolutely true," Obama replied. "Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria."
Eli Lake of the Daily Beast contacted a "former senior
It's almost surely the latter. Lake and others have gone on to detail how the intelligence and defense communities were briefing the
But while it would be nice to hear the president say, "I blew it," such admissions are probably too much to expect from any politician, never mind Obama. What matters aren't words, but deeds.
And after much reluctance the president has been changing course. He may not speak forthrightly about the fact he's putting boots on the ground, but he's putting boots on the ground. He may struggle to call it a war, but he's waging war on Islamic State. He may need to rebrand a core
Still, there's one area where he sticking to his ideological guns. And that is defense spending. He has conveniently adopted a three-year strategy that will drop this problem in the lap of the next president.
Maybe three years makes sense, but does it make sense to hamstring the next commander in chief?
The Syrian phase of this war began with the launching of Tomahawk missiles from Navy ships. Those missiles cost $1.4 million apiece, but they're more precious than that because Obama has slashed the Navy's Tomahawk budget to 100 a year. We launched 50 on the first day of the attack on Syria alone. That same night, F-22s were used to attack Islamic State and the Khorasan Group. But Obama has called the plane an "outdated" "waste" of American tax dollars. We plan to mothball the A-10 Warthog, which was essential in both Iraq wars. We are cutting Army troop levels to the lowest since before World War II. The Navy's fleet is smaller than it has been since before
In his "60 Minutes" interview Obama explained why the lion's share of the burden in this fight falls to us. "That's always the case," he said. "America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world. And when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing. They don't call Moscow. They call us. That's the deal."
He's right. For now.