Jonah Goldberg ---- National Review
It’s funny how President Obama is always talking about “I” and “me” whenever it makes him look good, but suddenly it’s “they” and “we” when mistakes are made.
For instance, for years Obama boasted about how he ended the Iraq War and how he withdrew American troops. “You know I say what I mean and I mean what I say,” he boasted on the campaign trail in 2012. “I said I’d end the war in Iraq. I ended it.”
Then, over the summer, as one Iraqi city after another fell to Islamic State militants, and as critics insisted that Obama’s decision to pull all our troops out of Iraq was partly to blame, he suddenly changed his tune, mocking the critics. “What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision [to withdraw U.S. troops].”
On Sunday night, the always-congenial Steve Kroft of CBS’s 60 Minutes noted comments by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. Clapper said, “We overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi army, to fight.”
“That’s true. That’s absolutely true,” Obama replied. “Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”
Eli Lake of the Daily Beast contacted a “former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq,” who was, in Lake’s words, “flabbergasted” by the president’s remarks. “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bulls****ing,” the official said.
It’s almost surely the latter. Lake and others have gone on to detail how the intelligence and defense communities were briefing the White House and Congress about the threat even when Obama was still dismissing the Islamic State as the “jayvee squad” of terrorism.