Last week President Obama caught as much flak for wearing a tan suit to a press conference than confessing he had no strategy for halting the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). If the cartoonists had fun with the president’s apparel, the GOP leaders, particularly Senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and John MCain of Arizona, pounced on his admission of being nulll and void when it came to the ISIS crisis.
During the press conference Obama was asked if he would seek approval from Congress for U.S. airstrikes in Syria and he said, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.”
To his detractors such admission from the nation’s commander in chief was tantamount to having no clue on what to do about ISIS and its determination to create a calpihate that will stretch across the troubled region of Iraq and Syria.
“Some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are,” the president added.
It was just the opening for the conservatives hawks needed circuling the carnage left in the wake of the ISIS sweep and land grab. In an op-ed article in the New York Times last week, Graham and McCain leaped on the issue with all four feet, blasting the president for not being ready to deal with a problem that was, as they saw it, getting worse by the hour.
“The President is right to provide humanitarian relief to the Iraqi civilians stranded on Mount Sinjar and to authorize military strikes against ISIS forces that are threatening them, our Kurdish allies, and our own personnel in northern Iraq,” the senators wrote, ‘”however, these actions are far from sufficient to meet the growing threat that ISIS poses. We need a strategic approach, not just a humanitarian one.”
They further noted that a policy of containment “will not work against ISIS. It is inherently expanionist and must be stopped. The longer we wait to act, the worse this threat will become, as recent events clearly show.”
Isolating and hitting ISIS forces is increasingly difficult as they shed their arms and blend into the community at large, as they are currently in the process of doing.
All of this brouhaha comes on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s comments two weeks ago in Atlantic magazine in which she said “don’t do stupid stuff” is not a policy and she criticism the president’s failure to smash ISIS when it was just beginning to emerge.
Meanwhile, the president has his hands full on the domestic front with the flareups in Staten Island following the death of Eric Garner by an NYPD officer and the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson that created a firestorm of reaction that continues to simmer.
And overarching all of this is the upcoming mid-term elections in which the Democrats could lose conto trol of the Senate and the House. It’s enough to turn a man’s hair gray and make him select a tan suit for a press conference.