Obama Interview on ISIS, Iraq and Syria

The Atlantic has a new interview with President Obama on ISIS, Iraq and Syria. He doesn't think "we're losing." He calls Ramadi a "tactical setback."

ISIS continues its attacks today. It is also taking credit for a suicide bomb attack at a Shi'a mosque in Saudi Arabia.

Yesterday it released Dabiq Issue 9. (John Cantlie provides the last article, the first sign in a while he's still alive.) You can read it here.

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    I agree with the administration on this (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 23, 2015 at 11:36:26 AM EST

    I disagree. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mr Natural on Sat May 23, 2015 at 01:03:52 PM EST
    (are we done arguing?  I hope so.)

    Did you (none / 0) (#25)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun May 24, 2015 at 10:19:17 AM EST
    Did you also agree with Baghdad Bob?  

    Baghdad Bob (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 10:31:15 AM EST
    has a record of predictions equaled that of many members of the  GWB Administration.  One example:

    Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim(Russert) because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House....The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."(Ed)

    Dick Cheney, 2003.


    Turns out ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Yman on Sun May 24, 2015 at 10:26:21 AM EST
    You equate President Obama with Bahgdad Bob? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 24, 2015 at 02:39:59 PM EST
    I think the job that President Obama is doing in balancing influence and power struggles between Saudi Arabia and Iran is stunning, positively intellectually stunning.

    I think that how he has chosen to use military force and presence in confronting the ISIS threat is the only way to approach that makes any rational sense.

    I am so proud to call him my President on Middle East issues, and if the next President is Clinton or Sanders I think we will begin experiencing a peace in the Middle East that is unprecedented.  I am so grateful for President Obama's brilliance on our current battlefields.

    I may be somewhat less happy with how he addressed some domestic policies, but on foreign policy he is unequaled in my lifetime.


    Yes (none / 0) (#49)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon May 25, 2015 at 09:31:55 AM EST
    ISIS  is only the JV squad.
    Yemen is a success.
    Ramadi is merely a tactical setback.

    Like Baghdad Bob, Obama prefers his delusions to reality.  


    Compared to almost all modern armies (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 25, 2015 at 09:48:38 AM EST
    ISIS is the JV squad.  It isn't that numerous NATO countries don't singularly have the military structure to take ISIS out, it is that anyone doing so will not fix what inspired and feeds ISIS, and there will only be an ISIS part 2 to follow.  The regional players must fix this, not us, not anyone who isn't a regional power.  I don't know how Conservatives can fail over and over again to grasp this simple fact.  And burning more of your treasure and American lives up in this will in the longrun accomplish nothing.  Really, how can you continue to lack deductive reasoning and common sense on the subject?

    We can provide narrowly defined support that comes with structured terms, and that's it.

    Yemen is also a regional power players problem.  We are in an intel gathering position that allows for our own safety, and at this point that is all that makes rational sense.  Until the power players end their proxy wars, you are just trying to feed American bodies into fires YOU can't put out. This is a Muslim religious war.


    What Iraq needs is a strong secular dictator. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by TheNilAdmirari on Sun May 24, 2015 at 06:26:47 PM EST
    Oh yeah, we killed him...

    And, following Ramadi, Palmyra falls, (none / 0) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Fri May 22, 2015 at 12:40:51 PM EST
    the destruction of priceless antiquities continues unabated.

    Yes and the iconoclasm (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 22, 2015 at 02:23:24 PM EST
    is not an incidental breakdown of law and order, but a core motive of the religious and political movement.  The primitive/medieval tradition of Wahhabi Islam urged the destruction of everything that could be seen as a later accretion to the core of the religion as well as manifestations of paganism or idolatry.

    This tradition has unleashed the savage destruction of shrines and holy places such as the Taliban destroying the Buddhas in Afghanistan.  Iconoclasm is apparently less a tradition for Shia, in fact, many Shia holy places have been targets.

    Of course, iconoclasm is not unknown to the West, and there are analogies between the violent and extremist factions of Islam seen in modern times and the heritage of the Protestant Reformation, of which image breaking was a key component. Centuries of vernacular culture were lost--paintings, murals, images of saints, removal of pipe organs, smashing of stained glass, and the casting aside of  certain architecture.    Apparently, it was believed that the visual and symbolic representation of the Christian message needed to be destroyed so as to increase the published versions of the story.

    The motives for violent and extremist Islamic iconoclasm may carry the heritage of Iba al-Wahhab, however,  it is not clear what the present day goals may be, other than mindless obliteration of a treasured legacy. Medieval barbarism needs to give way to the responsibilities of stewardship.


    And this happened when??? (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri May 22, 2015 at 06:33:36 PM EST
    Apparently, it was believed that the visual and symbolic representation of the Christian message needed to be destroyed so as to increase the published versions of the story.

    The Protestant Reformation (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 23, 2015 at 12:44:12 PM EST
    is generally attributed to Martin Luther (1517) with his "Ninety-five theses,"  although there were some less extensive reform movements prior to that time.  The end of the Reformation may be dated up to 1750, given the wars and splits of the splits ( e.g., Methodism from Lutheranism).

    ah yes. I see you didn't get my point.. (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat May 23, 2015 at 02:47:40 PM EST
    Or else you did and just want to try and ignore another comment in which....

    Those beheadings and destruction today and last week are all justified by the actions of Jews and Christians hundreds and thousands of years ago????


    Well, I was not (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 23, 2015 at 04:17:23 PM EST
    sure if you did not care to understand my comment, or you were slow to understand it.  I went with the later. Certainly, obtuse wins out, if you somehow wrapped my discussion of iconoclasm being a core component of ISIS savagery and destruction, rather than an incidental breakdown of law and order, with approval.  

    Moreover, the historical reference to iconoclasm made in my comment did not ignore a comment made later in a subsequent comment.  My clairvoyant capabilities are limited in such cases.

    However, so as to foster relaxation and enjoyment of your weekend BB-Qs, I will re-assure for you benefit, that the violence and iconoclastic actions of ISIS are not justified by any legacy.  The history and role of iconoclasm, however, does help understand the political and religious motives of the enemy.

    Iconoclastic actions have deep roots in violence. During  the Reformation, for that matter, iconoclasm destroyed art and culture--and can not be justified even in retrospect.  Nor were more recent cases of, say, Soviet destruction and looting of Churches (e.g. destruction of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow)  in an attempt to erase the culture of the past and install their version of the new.  



    Jim responds to what he thinks you (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 08:59:41 AM EST
    said, even if his conclusion(that you're in favor of Islamicist iconoclasm) is totally stupid.

    Subtlety isn't in Jim's vocabulary, as is true of modesty and logical reasoning.  The post you replied to is a kind of trifecta for him, demonstrating all three traits at once.


    Mordiggian, your psycho babble (1.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 12:17:44 PM EST
    defines your inability to do anything but follow someone you see as your political opponent around and comment on everything they write.

    You are a stalker.


    Gee, I make a comment about you (none / 0) (#34)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 01:05:01 PM EST
    to someone else and that makes me a stalker.



    No one that I know is justifying any (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 12:01:43 PM EST
    bad thing Christians did, do or will do.

    My point was simple.

    Why does the bad things of hundreds and thousands of years ago get mentioned in the same breath as the evil done now by radical muslims?

    It smacks of an attempt to be politically correct. To show that the writer finds what was done in the past is one of the reasons for what the radical islamists are doing now and thus Christianity is evil.

    IOW, it is an attempt to find moral equivalency.

    If that was not your intent, fine. But the results are the same.


    It's called perspective (none / 0) (#29)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 12:07:10 PM EST
    and analysis, Jim.  I'm sorry that those two concepts seem completely unintelligible to you.

    I agree (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 12:23:07 PM EST

    a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
    "most guidebook history is written from the editor's perspective"
    synonyms:    outlook, view, viewpoint, point of view, POV, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, slant, attitude, frame of mind, frame of reference, approach, way of looking, interpretation
    "her perspective on things had changed"

    And is the perspective of the writers that always demand that anything written negatively about radical islamist must include an analysis that blames the current actions of the radical islamists on the actions of Christians hundreds and thousnads of years ago.

    Thanks for pointing that out.


    Nothing in the comment (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 12:57:24 PM EST
    justifies your stupid reaction to it, Jim

    Your continual use of "stupid," etc (2.00 / 1) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 02:11:21 PM EST
    in reference to my comments prove only that you have lost the debate.

    Thanks again for proving my point.


    He was discussing the historical (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 04:02:11 PM EST
    analogies between iconoclast movements, past and

    That you viewed it as somehow intended to target and discredit present Christianity and excusing Islamicist iconoclasm is stupid.


    An anti-intellectual (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 24, 2015 at 07:06:23 PM EST
    stance seems to have been taken, when nothing other than trying to understand iconoclasm over centuries and how and why it is being deployed by ISIS.  The iconoclasm of the 16th century, as part of the Reformation,  involved two Christian religions, upheavals,  and their splitting.  Not a reflection on Christianity, in and of itself.  

    I repeat (1.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 08:30:21 PM EST
    If that was not your intent, fine. But the results are the same

    You continue to use personally insulting (1.00 / 2) (#46)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 08:33:21 PM EST
    words. That only proves that you have lost the debate.

    You are a stalker of the first order.


    If you can point to the specific (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 09:29:34 PM EST
    passages that disparage Christianity and excuse extreme
    Islamicism in the original comment, that would be interesting.

    You won't because there aren't such sentiments in the original comment



    And thanks for playing table captain (2.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 09:43:16 PM EST
    on this thread.

    Oh good grief. Try reading (none / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 25, 2015 at 12:06:37 PM EST
    The history and role of iconoclasm, however, does help understand the political and religious motives of the enemy.

    Iconoclastic actions have deep roots in violence. During  the Reformation, for that matter, iconoclasm destroyed art and culture--and can not be justified even in retrospect.

    How is the mention of a historical fact (none / 0) (#52)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon May 25, 2015 at 12:24:26 PM EST
    discredit present-day Christianity?

    Or do you think the iconoclasm of the Reformation was justifiable?

    You must not think very much of Christianity if a single, historical comment can be so devastating, especially one that condemns the Islamacist POV on such things as well.

    You need to read for meaning, Jim.  You've demonstrated your own intellectual bankruptcy by citing this passage.

    Or in other word, you're acting ........again.


    You are changing the sunject (none / 0) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 25, 2015 at 05:33:24 PM EST
    My comment was that any criticism of radical islam is almost always concurrent with comments about  the actions of Christians and Jews hundreds and thousands of years ago.

    The writers seem to do so to show that they are "fair and balanced" so they must criticize both sides. And since no current Christians are beheading, torturing, committing suicide bombings, etc., then they must reach back through the ages to a different time and place that has no relevance to what is happening now.  

    If you want a through look at some of the evil things done by Christians, especially the Catholics, then I recommend "A World Lit Only By Fire" by William Manchester.


    He was commenting on similar actions (none / 0) (#59)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon May 25, 2015 at 06:01:06 PM EST
    Taken by the Reformationists who had similar motivations as the Islamicists.

    Where is the criticism of Christianity?  The excerpt you posted contained no such criticism.

    Put or shut up, Jim.


    Yes he was (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 26, 2015 at 08:59:51 AM EST
    And that was my point.

    And I have repeated my point several times. But again...

    Time and again any comment about the despicable actions of radical islamists also contain a "Yes but Christians did..." component.

    You understand that I see that as an attempt to find a moral equivalency. It is a twofer. The writer gets to criticize radical islamists and some Christians, who are currently guilty, not of beheading, but of criticizing abortion, gay marriage, etc.

    I happen to disagree with these Christians but I also understand that condemning gay marriage is not the same as stoning gays and the two acts should never be conflated in any manner because it weakens the position of those who support the right to choose and gay rights.


    There was no attempt to soften the (none / 0) (#61)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue May 26, 2015 at 09:03:55 AM EST
    horrors of the Islamicists extremists by talking about the past history of Christian iconoclasts.

    Since you've yet to demonstrate your assertions are backed up by anything on this thread, I'm going to take a page from your own book, declare victory and move on.


    Not so fast (none / 0) (#62)
    by FlJoe on Tue May 26, 2015 at 10:19:54 AM EST
    M, you cannot just declare victory and "cut and run", you absolutely must keep a residual force in Jim's face lest your resounding "win" be snatched away.

    Exodus 20:4 (none / 0) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Fri May 22, 2015 at 10:47:16 PM EST
    3"You shall have no other gods before Me. 4"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,..."
    And yet today, "Image" making robotics are pumping out "likenesses" 24/7.

    The difference between most of today's evolved religions, and those religious sects that adhere to a literal, fundamental adaptation, such as ISIS, is that modern societies have advanced beyond simple dogma, and have evolved to respect antiquity, regardless of its source, just for its beauty and historical value.

    Most modern countries and religions have shown they want to advance; ISIS, Boko Haram, etc. want to regress, to the 6th century.......(literally.) And, that reality is the seed that, especially in the internet age, guarantees its self-destruction.

    Of course, the bloodshed & genocide they will leave in their wake prior to their inevitable demise is a reality the civilized world, simply cannot permit.  



    Indeed (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat May 23, 2015 at 10:06:53 AM EST
    Yet time and again evil acts by radical islamists are always excused by evil acts of Christians and Jews..... long long ago.

    Can't we admit that it isn't reasonable to blame beheadings today with invasions in the 1100's?????


    Jim (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 23, 2015 at 03:30:45 PM EST
    calm down you are creating a huge man of straw here. Nobody here is excusing any evil acts. You accuse anybody who tries to apply any kind of historical perspective to ISIS of somehow endorsing their evil.

    Atrocities have been committed by, for and in the name of religion forever. In the great sweep of history ISIS is no big deal, no more brutal then Torquemada for sure.

    ISIS has managed to convince the gullible that they are some kind of existential threat through a sickly savvy marketing campaign.


    It doesn't work on Jim (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat May 23, 2015 at 03:43:49 PM EST
    because he was already looking under his bed each night for Jihaidis before ISIS came on the scene.

    His (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 23, 2015 at 03:53:29 PM EST
    Mom told me he put all his Al-Qaeda comics away and now spends his allowance on new ISIS comics.

    Soon he'll be looking under his bed... (none / 0) (#21)
    by desertswine on Sat May 23, 2015 at 08:17:41 PM EST
    for the Chinese.  In fact, I think there's one under my bed right now. They're about to be our new no. 1 enemy.

    It is the fact that the so-called (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 12:31:58 PM EST
    "historical perspective" is always trotted out whenever the evil of radical islam comes up that is telling.

    And while your on the historical perspective kick....check out how islam was spread.


    Yes, as a means of understanding them (none / 0) (#35)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 01:07:01 PM EST
    not excusing their actions.

    That you can't tell the two apart is already established.


    When you always (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 24, 2015 at 02:15:19 PM EST
    include...."But the Christians did this..." then what you are doing is trying to establish a moral equivalence with MODERN Christians and MODERN radical islamist by bringing in the acts of Christians and Jews that are hundreds and thousands of years old.

    It is your "perspective" that is so telling.


    Your (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 24, 2015 at 02:30:03 PM EST
    rant is ironic from a man who quoted;  
    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
    to me a few threads back.

    Historical perspective (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 02:56:22 PM EST
    if all you get out of it is a them vs us in the past and present, then you're really going out to Wackyville today, Jim.

    You think (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat May 23, 2015 at 10:22:11 AM EST
    the stuff people like Josh Duggar has been doing is okay?

    Why do you ask?? (2.00 / 2) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat May 23, 2015 at 02:50:35 PM EST
    Trying to change the subject??

    But I'll answer your silly question.


    Now, how do you feel about the various priests and the church's actions?????


    Maybe they won't destroy (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jack203 on Sat May 23, 2015 at 09:25:17 AM EST
    the priceless historical artifacts this time?

    You can always hope...


    Hopefully they will sell them for profit (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 23, 2015 at 11:35:48 AM EST
    Tagging their current money man could motivate such action.  That would be another win.

    A graph in a recent NYT (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sat May 23, 2015 at 11:35:29 PM EST
    article as to how ISIS is funded reveals the largest source of finds is from taxation.

    I don't see that path as self sustaining though (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 25, 2015 at 12:48:21 PM EST
    If we cut off their oil money, there is only so much blood they can squeeze from isolated caliphate turnips.  It isn't IMO enough funding for them to stay in control of any region that fights back for long.

    Just time enough to kill (none / 0) (#54)
    by oculus on Mon May 25, 2015 at 04:25:05 PM EST
    people and destroy antiquities.

    Yeah, sadly (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 25, 2015 at 04:32:10 PM EST
    I still hope they will attempt to sell the antiquities. Heck maybe even the people too if it means they might be saved. Since it is a possibility that they could attempt to sell the antiquities, you know there must be people working on how to get that done.  Would the U.S. step on such deals? Would they allow them then try to follow the money?  Maybe we'll read about it all someday.

    We are way too (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by oculus on Mon May 25, 2015 at 04:37:52 PM EST
    exceptional to purchase purloined antiquities. Now in the Reagan era....

    Hey, most of the antiquities in Palmyra (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 26, 2015 at 07:03:46 PM EST
    Were transferred to Damascus before IS could lay hands on them.

    and (none / 0) (#57)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 25, 2015 at 04:41:02 PM EST
    we are compelled to sit back and watch, at this point in history there is very little we can do that will not make things worse.

    Tom Ashbrook hosted a good segment (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mr Natural on Sat May 23, 2015 at 01:12:41 PM EST
    about ISIS last night (5-22) - on his npr show, On Point.  No one had anything good to say about the administration's position.

    To be fair, there is no good position.  That President Obama was kicking the can down the road and to the next administration seemed to be consensus.

    There is a position on ISIS (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 24, 2015 at 02:48:08 PM EST
    It just isn't being shared with the world, least of all ISIS.  When Delta forces show up, take out the money man, make off with loads and loads of intel, there is a position and policy out there.  It is a JSOC position and policy.  It is a JSOC mission.  And I'm not going to know what that is, neither are you, there is a position, policy, plan, and a mission.

    It is very obvious to me that the State Department is working as much overtime as Spec Operations, and they are working hand in glove.

    Journalists are lazy and sensationalist in my lifetime, they are a sad lot.


    Unless the President (none / 0) (#20)
    by NYShooter on Sat May 23, 2015 at 07:49:17 PM EST
    can get the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds to kiss and make up; they must, their survival depends on it, put their differences aside, and unite, at least temporarily, and wipe out this common foe.

    What is so maddening, is that the answer is right in front of them. ISIS, like any good military strategists, saw the turmoil among those three factions, and the military victories that followed were really self-induced catastrophes. Combined, the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds could wipe out ISIS, Boko Haram, and the other assorted Radicals, virtually, overnight.

    Tragically, the squabbling countries are their own worst enemies. They soften each other up, and, ISIS strolls in and picks up the easy pickings.

    Obama is right. We've made mistakes in the M.E. but, we don't have to keep on making them again, and again. We can help, but that's it! And, the issue of oil? Exxon/Mobil couldn't care less if they buy crude from the Saudis, or from ISIS. Such are the rules of Multi-National, loyal-to-no one, Corporations in the 21'st century.


    I think you (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 23, 2015 at 08:31:04 PM EST
    are mistaken, in many ways ISIS is just a brand name for the inevitable Sunni insurgency. We in the West have been propagandized to see only see the religious hotheads who claim to lead , meanwhile the military leadership is almost certainly dis-enfranchised Saddam era officers, who are anything but.

    If you really want to parse it down, this is really a flare up in the centuries old Shia-Sunni rift, inevitable thanks to Bush's folly. Anybody who thinks a 10k residual American would make a difference in this mess. Well we would all love to see the plans.