Tuesday, December 15, 2015

44 @The Pentagon

Commander in Chief!

44 spoke more forcefully about ISIS Monday than he did in his primetime address from the Oval Office last week. In a rare appearance at the Defense Department, the president said the U.S.–led military coalition is hitting ISIS "harder than ever" and moving forward with its strategy with "a great sense of urgency.”

While 44’s remarks were stronger, they contained no new initiatives or steps to defeat ISIS, serving more as an update of the policies he already has in place

Long on promises yet short on strategy

The president touted the nearly 9,000 airstrikes the Western coalition has carried out against ISIS forces and said that U.S.-led forces dropped more ordnance on the group last month than any other time since the campaign began last year.

If 44’s latest attempt to allay the country’s fears about terrorism doesn’t work better than his last speech — if he’s unable to mitigate the doubts surrounding his strategy — he could also boost the number of special forces operators deployed to the region or take a sharper tone with coalition allies. Or he could face more pressure to do something drastic, such as deploying ground troops to Iraq, a move he has ruled out in the past.

Each option carries an inherent risk for the country and the troops involved, but if the polls keep indicating that anxiety levels about terrorism remain as high as it has the past few weeks, 44 faces another risk himself: being viewed as an ineffectual lame duck and becoming a brick around the neck of Democrats in 2016.