That is the question for president Obama. No doubt it is every bit as vexing as the one with which Prince Hamlet wrestled in the Shakespeare classic that bears his name.
In Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, he tries to decide if it would be better to commit suicide or struggle with the pains and unfairness of life. His dilemma is not that far removed from the one facing our 44th president. Obama’s choice is between political suicide or pubic ridicule.
Obama firmly believes that he was elected to avoid war at all cost, so much so, that he squandered our hard-fought victory in Iraq in order to declare peace, when there was no peace, and bring our troops home prematurely. But, alas, our enemy metastasized. It is slaughtering our friends in the region, openly beheading our citizens on the internet and threatening to spill blood in our streets.
Does Obama declare war on ISIS and take the necessary action to rid the world of this evil or does he simply invoke the Authorization for Use of Military Force given to his predecessor?
If he does the former, he would need permission from Congress, which likely would mean the political deaths of some dovish Democratic senators. If he does the latter, he will be exposed as a hypocrite.
Last year, in a speech at the National Defense University, Obama called for the repeal of that 2001 AUMF saying, “Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.” In other words, Obama views that AUMF as a blank check which he now wishes to cash.
So the choice Obama faces is between the potential loss of Democrat control of the Senate or the loss of his last remaining shred of credibility. Poor thing!
All this president ever wanted was “hope and change.” He “hoped” that he could sit cross-legged around a solar-powered heat source, sing Kumbaya with world leaders and they would all be friends. Then, with the money saved from his defense budget, he could “change” our economy from one based on work and reward to one where the government provides every need. Life really is unfair!
As per that 2013 speech, Obama tried to discipline his actions to the point of inaction. He also tried to disciple his “definitions.”
The “global war on terror” was changed to “overseas contingency operations.” Acts of terror became “man caused disasters,” and the massacre at Ft. Hood was deemed “workplace violence.”
Which bring us to what appears to be the Obama Administration’s favorite euphemism for war, “kinetic action.” It was first trotted out in 2011 and has been used liberally by senior administration officials ever since.
According to Bob Woodward, Donald Rumsfeld was the first to use this term to describe a military action. However, when Bush decided to take us to war, he didn’t couch it in terms that left us scratching our heads.
Last week, President Obama addressed the nation to tell us we were going to conduct a “counter-terrorism operation” against ISIL or ISIS. What does that mean? The next day, when Secretary of State John Kerry was asked the “W” question, he said, “I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action.”
Days earlier at the NATO Summit, when Kerry was asked to explain the president’s strategy he said, “It really relies on a holistic approach to ISIL. That is to say that we need to do kinetic.” “Holistic” and “kinetic”? Oh please! That sounds like some pantywaist fitness program, not a blueprint for war. It’s a side-splitter for those bent on our destruction.
A real leader says what he means and means what he says. Also, if you plan to lead a coalition against an enemy you have to be willing to lead! You can’t expect your partners to do all the dirty work while you hold their coats.
On May 28, 2014, in an address to the cadets at West Point, Obama said, “And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader – and especially your Commander-in-Chief – to be clear about how that awesome power should be used.”
Mr. President, you have a decision to make:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?