One of the responsibilities of a leader is to assess trouble situations, identify their severity and the urgency and importance of resolution, and get them fixed. President Obama had the unfortunate opportunity presented to him by the financial crash of 2008 to propose and implement a solution to a situation that needed fixing, badly.
Much political wrangling ensued and there were numerous competing plans. Eventually, Congress passed the bailout and stimulus package and we waited to see what would happen. When the recovery didn’t happen (as many predicted), Obama was forced to answer for himself. His answer? “I underestimated the magnitude of the recession”. Because all of the economists did, not him, of course – “Even I didn’t realize the magnitude — because most economists didn’t realize the magnitude — of the recession until” it was many months into his presidency, Obama said Wednesday.”
Whether it was too much of the wrong thing, not enough of the right thing, or both, Obama miscalculated and as a result our economic recovery hasn’t been what it could have been. The implementation the Affordable Care Act was President Obama’s next opportunity to show the country his ability to roll out a large-scale program. Unfortunately, as the website came into service it became obvious that it was not performing appropriately and for the most part hadn’t even been properly tested prior to the October 1st deadline. Again, Obama was forced to answer for the outcome. His response?
The challenge has been just making sure that consumers are actually able to get on a website, see those choices, and shop. And I think that we probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should.
The actual complexities of the product or service aren’t important. A project of any scale can be completed by competent resources, so long as they first understand what the requirements and scope are and break it down into accomplish-able tasks. Apparently that process is too much to ask of our Government as implemented under Obama.
Faced with deciding how to end the Iraq war, Obama failed to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement, left the country run by an ideologue and seems to have sorely underestimated the ramifications of having done so. The vacuum created by the removal of our troops was one of the formative conditions required for ISIS and groups like them to thrive. This video tells the tale:
After having withdrawn from Iraq and set a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, word began to trickle out from Iraq and Syria that things weren’t quite right. The effects of the troop withdrawal became clear (prompting, for example, the creation of that video), and in response, Obama in an interview in the New Yorker magazine compared ISIS to a junior varsity sports team.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
To keep the sports parlance going, we could say that’s a blown call. We’ve now seen their reach, and what he should have known and we did know is that their recruiting reach and message is global. These groups can operate lone wolf cells with little to no visibility to authorities until it’s too late. As a result, people are dead who didn’t need to be. Once again, Obama to the carpet, and President Obama says “Jim Clappper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria”. It’s ultimately Obama’s responsibility, so it was his underestimation too.
We authorized airstrikes and other interdiction on ISIS that became necessary because of his administration’s underestimating their rise. Almost immediately after the speech telling America he was authorizing the airstrikes and assuring us there would be no boots on the ground, our military leaders started going on record with their opinion that airstrikes alone had little chance for success. Now Obama is in front of America asking our permission to use more military force on ISIS wherever they may be globally. Just this week Obama said that the media overplays the threat of Islamic terrorism, and that ISIS doesn’t “threaten Western Civilization”. He said that he would argue that the invasion of Iraq was counterproductive.
“What I do insist on is that we maintain a proper perspective and that we do not provide a victory to these terrorist networks by overinflating their importance and suggesting in some fashion that they are an existential threat to the United States or the world order. You know, the truth of the matter is that they can do harm. But we have the capacity to control how we respond in ways that do not undercut what’s the — you know, what’s essence of who we are.”
Yes, they are! Aggressive Islamic expansionism has been a threat to the world order for about 1400 years. Would Egypt agree that the Muslim Brotherhood is not an existential threat? Would Israel agree that any of ISIS, Iran, or Hamas would wipe them off the map given the opportunity? He told us that he’s seriously considering Iran’s assertion that nuclear weapons are against their religion. Does Obama really understand what we are faced with? The Ayatollah’s claim that they couldn’t have nukes because of their religion is about as credible as the email I got telling me my long-lost uncle in Nigeria died and left me $10m.
Underestimating the enemy and wasting ineffective bombs and missiles is one thing. Underestimating an enemy when you’re committing ground troops is another thing entirely. Underestimating ISIS in this case will result in poor rules of engagement, like making troops engage legal counsel before engaging an enemy, or being unable to fire until they’re fired upon first. There’s a reason that Obama has such a poor approval rating amongst the troops. Shouldn’t the American people listen to them? Our President can have authorization to use troops against ISIS – but not the current one. Obama should resign and let someone who has experience at not only estimating what’s necessary to execute successfully, whether it’s economics, websites, or warfare, but actually accomplishing it.