Blistering criticism of the President’s handling of the ISIS threat — as well as much of his approach to the Middle East — is mounting rapidly. But it is not coming merely from conservatives. The criticism is coming from the President’s own former senior advisors, as well as from journalists typically sympathetic to the White House.
Key insiders and supporters of Mr. Obama now say the President:
- Created the vacuum in the Mideast that ISIS is now exploiting.
- Has largely ignored Iraq and botched his much-heralded exit strategy.
- Is not taking decisive action to defeat ISIS.
- Has imposed severe limitations on the U.S. military hampering our commanders’ ability to prosecute the war effectively.
- May soon hand ISIS a major victory if he allows the strategic city of Kobane — near the Syrian-Turkish border — to fall.
Consider the latest:
- Leon Panetta, the former CIA Director and Defense Secretary — who served in both positions under President Obama — said this week he believes the war against ISIS could take three decades. This, he said, is partly because Mr. Obama proved to be “reticent about whether or not we should, in fact, exercise strong world leadership” and thus “created a vacuum” in the Middle East in which “ISIS began to breed” and launched its murderous jihadist offensive.
- Christopher Hill, a career American foreign service officer and the former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq — who served in Iraq under President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — wrote an article this week charged both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton “ignored” Iraq, squandered American influence in Baghdad, botched our exit strategy, and ultimately allowed ISIS to become a major disaster. When the President and his team repeatedly kept “signaling our interest in withdrawal” of U.S. military forces from Iraq, “we began to lose more influence on the ground,” Hill wrote.
- Jimmy Carter, the former President, blasted President Obama this weak. “[W]e waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” Carter said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”
- The Washington Post editorial board published a scathing editorial on October 7th charging that President Obama has imposed severe “limitations” on the U.S. military that are hampering the coalition’s ability to truly defeat ISIS. The headline: “U.S. air campaign against Islamic State isn’t achieving its aims.” The Post warned that “two months after the United States began airstrikes in Iraq, and two weeks after they were extended into Syria, the forces of the Islamic State are still advancing.” Furthermore, the Post editors warned that there could be a wholesale slaughter of the Kurds in the city of Kobane — currently under a massive assault by ISIS — unless the President removed the restrictions and allowed the military to be more aggressive.
- Such unusually harsh criticism in recent days from close advisors to the President echoes similarly blistering criticisms made by Bob Gates, who served as President Obama’s first Secretary of Defense, earlier this year. “In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president ‘doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out,” wrote Washington Post legendary reporter Bob Woodward in January. When dealing with Mr. Obama, Mr. Gates wrote that he was frequently “seething” and “running out of patience on multiple fronts.”
It is my sincerest hope that the joint military effort that the U.S. and several Sunni Arab countries launched in September will be able to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. But I confess I am deeply concerned that not only have President Obama and the international community been slow in taking action against ISIS, they are still not taking every step needed to win decisively.
- Please pray that the President will give the military the “green light” to do the job right.
- Please also pray for the Muslim and Christian people of Syria and Iraq — and particularly the Kurds in Kobane — who are in grave danger.
- Further, please pray that ISIS is defeated before they can launch terrorist attacks against Americans or Israelis in the epicenter, the homeland, or anywhere else.
MORE DETAILS ABOUT HOW THE ISIS ASSAULT ON THE CITY OF KOBANE & ITS IMPLICATIONS:
- “U.S. air campaign against Islamic State isn’t achieving its aims.” From the Washington Post: “Two months after the United States began airstrikes in Iraq, and two weeks after they were extended into Syria, the forces of the Islamic State are still advancing. Last week they captured the Iraqi towns of Hit and Kubaisa, northwest of Baghdad. On Tuesday they appeared close to overrunning Kobane, a strategic city on the border between Syria and Turkey that is populated by Kurds. The enemy victories are happening in spite of U.S. and allied airstrikes and resistance from local forces. They suggest that the U.S. air campaign is failing to achieve the minimal aim of stopping the expansion of the Islamic State — much less ‘degrading’ and ‘destroying’ it. Why can’t the U.S.-led coalition prevent a ragtag insurgent army from overrunning large towns? The answers speak to the limitations imposed on the military campaign by President Obama as well as the continuing political complications of fighting the Islamic State. Military analysts point out that U.S. strikes on Islamic State forces around Kobane have come late and in small handfuls — not enough, as of Tuesday, to turn back thousands of fighters armed with tanks and artillery. In contrast with the successful 2002 air campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. pilots cannot rely on Special Forces spotters to identify targets. Mr. Obama has ruled out such ground personnel despite requests from military commanders.”
- “ISIS Marches to a Massacre: The siege of Kobani shows the holes in Obama’s strategy.” From the Wall Street Journal editorial: “A month ago President Obama ordered the world’s greatest military ‘to degrade and ultimately destroy’ the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. America’s word isn’t what it used to be. As we went to press on Tuesday, ISIS was on the verge of a major military victory in Kobani, a mostly Kurdish city along Syria’s border with Turkey. The siege of Kobani has left hundreds dead and forced some 200,000 to flee, mostly to Turkey. The city’s fall would mean a massacre of civilians and Kurdish fighters—ISIS doesn’t distinguish among ‘apostates’—that would put Kobani in the same sentence with Srebrenica. So soon after Mr. Obama’s call to arms, it would also be a blow to American prestige and a huge recruiting tool for ISIS. The jihadists would claim they’ve defeated an America unable to stop them. After the Kurds begged for help, the U.S. on Tuesday escalated air strikes against ISIS artillery positions near Kobani. But the bombing is late and insufficient. ISIS fighters move in small teams and many are dug into urban areas. The Syrian Kurds are trapped between the President’s refusal to act beyond cursory bombing and neighboring Turkey’s cynical realpolitik. In northern Syria and across the Middle East, the Kurds are secular, mostly Sunni Muslims and staunch friends of America. The U.S. needs to protect and strengthen these allies to defeat Islamist terror and restore order in the region.”
- Krauthammer’s Take: Kobane Falling to ISIS Would Be a Huge Setback for U.S. From appearance by columnist Charles Krauthammer on Fox News & coverage by National Review Online. “On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said the fall of Kobane, a Kurdish city in Syria along the Turkish border, into the hands of the Islamic State would harm U.S. interests in the region,” noted NRO. “‘It would be a tremendous, strategic, and symbolic victory if ISIS succeeds and right now it is,’ Krauthammer said. ‘If this falls it’s going to be a huge setback for the United States and for any of the good guys on the ground in Syria or in Iraq.’ Krauthammer continued to explain that U.S. air strikes constituted doing ‘practically nothing,’ and called today’s five air strikes ‘utterly meaningless.’ He added that the unserious American air campaign will have grave consequences for the Kurds, who are fighting to hold on to Kobane.”
- Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com). This is an organization my wife and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her Arab neighbors in the name of Jesus, including caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief. Read our 2013 Donor Report. Please pray for our team, especially as they care for people in the rocket zone. And please prayerfully consider making a generous, tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
- We are moving up release of my new thriller about the ISIS threat, THE THIRD TARGET. It will be published on Jan. 6.
- To pre-order THE THIRD TARGET, please click here.