President Barack Obama has consistently deceived the American people when called out on statements that he’s made in the past, but the media have not consistently reported on these often farcical inconsistencies. However, the President’s recent “evolution” regarding the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni militant group active in those countries that has been beheading kidnapped American journalists, has been so obvious that it could not fail to spark some media criticism. So, too, are the President’s contradictory comments on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And much, much more.
Back in January of this year, President Obama referred to ISIS as the junior varsity team and said, “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.” Now that ISIS is terrorizing Americans, not just Iraqis, the danger seems more imminent to the average citizen, and President Obama finds it politically necessary to deny ever downplaying the threat.
To that end, he recently sent out Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who contended in a press conference that “…the President was not singling out [ISIS], he was talking about the very different threat that is posed by a range of extremists around the globe.” One of those groups is Ansar al Sharia (AAS). State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki argued, also in January, that AAS is not an “official affiliate” of al Qaeda, despite the fact that its leadership has ties to al Qaeda and formerly to Osama bin Laden himself.
How useful are these distinctions, really, when all of these terrorist organizations are intent on killing Americans?
Earnest earned four Pinocchios from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler for “Spinning Obama’s reference to Islamic State as a ‘JV’ team.” It is clear from the exchange that the question posed was specifically about ISIS. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine conducted several interviews with the President, but this one was just days after ISIS took control of Fallujah in Iraq. Obama made the JV (Junior Varsity) reference (“…if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”), and then Remnick said, “But that JV team just took over Fallujah.” Obama replied, “I understand. But when you say took over Fallujah…let’s just keep in mind, Fallujah is a profoundly Sunni city…”
Yet again on Meet the Press on Sunday, September 7th, Chuck Todd raised the JV issue, asking the President if his use of the term JV to describe ISIS was “bad intelligence or your misjudgment?” Obama replied, “Keep, keep, keep in mind that I wasn’t specifically referring to ISIL.”
But the President’s and Earnest’s dissembling doesn’t end there. In early August, Josh Earnest said, “There are no military solutions to the very difficult problems that exist in Iraq now.” Then, on August 28, President Obama admitted on camera that he doesn’t “want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.”
America’s strategy against ISIS is clearly not transparent to President Obama himself.