Obama still talking about winning ‘hearts and minds’ instead of a war

Once again Obama trotted out his lame old LBJ line about winning hearts and minds. That worked so well for LBJ, didn’t it?

He also pompously told his audience at the Pentagon — of all places: “Ideologies are not defeated with guns; they’re defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision.”

Even he admits the other side may be winning more hearts and minds, noting that we “have to acknowledge that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, including here in the United States.”

Obama at Pentagon (Defense Department photo)

Also, this hearts and minds thing is a slow slog. “And this larger battle for hearts and minds is going to be a generational struggle,” he told the assembly brass.

Meanwhile, though, Obama described the task of actually fighting. “Our coalition has now hit ISIL with more than 5,000 airstrikes.  We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps,” he boasted.

Now, is that 5,000 airstrikes or 5,000 sorties?

According the Washington Times, nearly 75 percent of U.S. bombers and fighters seeking out Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria are returning to base without firing a shot or dropping a bomb, because there is no one on the ground to point out targets. The newspaper reported that the U.S. sent 7,319 sorties over Iraq and Syria in the first four months of 2015. Only 1,859 flights — 25.4 percent — released a weapon, according to data provided by United States Air Force Central Command.

At another point he mentioned sending those 450 trainers Iraq. “So, with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL forces …” he said, though we suspect he meant Iraqi forces, though there have been reports that there aren’t 450 Iraqis to train.

Obama even repeated that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs.

“Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction,” the president’s speech writers said.

The whole speech was delivered in a monotone drone that suggested it was all just words and that his heart and mind just weren’t in it.

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57 comments on “Obama still talking about winning ‘hearts and minds’ instead of a war

  1. nyp says:

    right – all we have to do is kill every single last one of them. That should be easy enough.

    by the way — where is the line in the President’s speech in which he says that the root cause of Islamic terrorism is a lack of jobs?

    It doesn’t seem to be in the transcript I saw.

  2. Barbara says:

    No doubt Obama’s foreign policy has been a complete failure. I think even NYP or Patrick or Rincon would have a problem spinning his Arab Spring into anything positive.

    However, I really believe that he had help from the Republican leadership in this failure. Apparently emails from Hillary’s server show that the US (with the approval of Congress) was running guns into Middle East countries to arm rebels in Syria and Lybia. Now we know why nothing has been done on Bengahzi. Both Democrats and Republicans are complicit in this illegal activity. And I guess you can throw in the media too. This makes Iran-Contra look like childs play. I don’t recall any Americans losing their lives in Iran-Contra. Now Syria and Lybia are using those same weapons to kill innocents while we do nothing. Again, no one is accountable and the libs defend Obama and Clinton to the bitter end, this time with Republican complicity.

  3. Rincon says:

    Seems to me some of you criticized the administration for failing to provide support to the Syrian rebels. Now, you’re criticizing the possibility that they were?

    The Arab spring was due to Obama’s foreign policy? You must think he’s the Wizard of Oz.

    Now you think we should actively engage IS with our troops in harm’s way. Soon, you will say we never should have gotten involved in the first place or perhaps you’ll say that we should have gone whole hog and sent in lots of troops. If it doesn’t turn out well, then the administration must have done something wrong – a standard which never applied to George W. and won’t apply to the next Republican administration.

  4. nyp says:

    It is all a great big fat conspiracy.

  5. Anonymous says:

    For NYP: The foolish comment was not in his speech shown above. It was presented by Marie Harf a bit ago, and barry seems to be following quite closely.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/17/state-department-spokeswoman-floats-jobs-as-answer-to-isis/

  6. nyp says:

    In other words, President Obama did not say what Mr. Mitchell says he said.

  7. Steve says:

    Mitch said Marie Harf has ridiculed this line: (Which you guys HATE to see “interpreted” because it hurts you so much to see Obama obviously offering aid and comfort to the enemy.)

    “Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction,”

    over and over. Mitch NEVER claimed Obama said it…you claimed Mitch said Obama said it, nyp and neither he nor Mitch ever did. YOU, Nyp are RAWNG!

    again.

    smh

  8. nyp says:

    Here is what Mr. Mitchell, displaying his customary journalistic precision, wrote: “Obama even repeated that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs.”

    Please find me the line in the transcript of President Obama’s statement in which he states that the root cause of terrorism is a lack of jobs.

  9. Steve says:

    Yes nyp, he repeated the oft ridiculed line….the line ridiculed by Marie Harf! SHE was the one saying that line is about the lack of jobs, not Mitch! jeeeeezzzzzz……you get so blinded by your filter.

    Read it again, this time, turn off the filter.

  10. nyp says:

    below is a link to the transcript of President Obama’s remarks. Please quote back to me the portioin of the trancript in which President Obama, as Mr. Mitchell alleges, “even repeated that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs.”

  11. Steve says:

    You are so stubborn it actually hurts, you…not me.

    First sentence in P13.

    The ONLY change is the number of “–” used.

  12. Steve says:

    Marie Harf ridicules THAT line and THAT is what Mitch refers to.

    NOT WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO CLAIM….but it is fact.

  13. nyp says:

    You mean where the President says “Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction. ”

    That is what you are hanging your hat on?

  14. Barbara says:

    Rincon – What standard do you apply to Obama? It’s okay to provide arms to the Syrian and Lybia rebels regardless of what the law is and then lie and cover up the deed which lead to the loss of 4 American lives?

  15. Steve says:

    THAT LINE, is exactly what Mitch says Marie Harf is often ridiculed for saying about terrorists “needing” jobs! And she doubled down on it by claiming her statement was “too nuanced” for all us “boobs” out here.

    I am not “hanging my hat on anything, Mich said and provided a link to, the comment that Obama is supporting with his statement. Mitch NEVER claimed OBAMA made the statement Harf made. Only that Obama is supporting it.

    The facts are ISIS is not “wining” hearts and minds, they are killing, torturing and maiming people in that part of the world until those people are subjugated to life under ISIS control.

    There is no “winning of hearts and minds” when the enemy is killing, maiming and torturing their way into power and control.

    Obama…and his State Department Spokeswoman are wrong. And she should not be in that post…she is way too arrogant and snide.

  16. Steve says:

    I get it now…you are upset about the word “repeated”

    Patrick had that discussion already…words don’t mean what they mean anymore.

  17. nyp says:

    Now I see — when Mr. Mitchell writes that the President “Obama even repeated that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs” he did not mean to suggest that President Obama actually repeated that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs.

  18. Rincon says:

    Did you learn nothing from Viet Nam? We lost the war, but we’re winning the ideological conflict.

    Anyone who thinks we can win a asymmetric military campaign against religious fanatics is a bit of a fanatic himself. You win with ideology or not at all.

    Steve: “SHE was the one saying that line is about the lack of jobs, not Mitch!”

    Mitch: “Obama even repeated that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Hart about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs.”

    To quote, “You’re Rawng.”

  19. Steve says:

    Now you are getting it…Patrick made it clear as mud about the word “shall” just the other day and Bill Clinton did it to the word “is” way back in the 90’s.

    Unless you are simply being carefully selective in what words you wish to “define” if that even means what it means anymore!

    I got what was being said…I followed the link Mitch provided…you don’t like vids or you “shall” have figured it out too.

    See what I did there?

  20. Steve says:

    Rincon steps into the middle of the shit bucket and decides to redefine the whole pile!

  21. Steve says:

    Vietnam? We weren’t allowed to shoot where the enemy was hiding!

    Politics and war do not mix, one must get out of the way for the other to finish.

  22. ronknecht says:

    I think I still haven’t added you to distribution. Will do. Meantime, this week’s opus attached. Be well, keep up great work, RK

    Ron Knecht Economist & Nevada Controller 775-882-2935 775-684-5777 http://www.RonKnecht.com

  23. Well at least the President isn’t calling them the JV team anymore. However…the revelation yesterday about the number of Syrian troops who are actually being trained to fight ISIS speaks volumes about his heart NOT being in it…this would be laughable if it wasn’t so damned sad! “Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the most focused on national security of the potential 2016 field, told an audience of conservative activists Friday that the administration’s “Obama-Clinton” foreign policy means “our allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us. This is the road our president has placed us on.’’

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/07/politics/united-states-training-syrian-rebels-ashton-carter/

  24. nyp says:

    Makes you long for the good old days when we were invading Middle Eastern countries under false pretexts, suffering thousands and thousands of casualties and torturing prisoners in secret prisons.

    That’s when our international standing was really high.

  25. Patrick says:

    Yes Pete, the world hated this country. Heck, we were hated so much by the entire world that longtime allies abandoned us and we had to pay off countries like the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and Solomon Islands, to even mouth the word ally. Course, these new “friends” did “support” during bush’s “war against reason” by at least (and at most” offering to help is fight the war by sending monkeys, unlike our “former” friends who warned us that the far right wing was leading this country astray.

    Don’t you worry none though, the “new” far right wing, represented by Rubio, will bring those “new” friends along with us, to fight again alongside their monkeys, and against the rest of the world if, God forbid, they manage to take over this country.

  26. Steve says:

    “BAGHDAD (AP) — Fanatical and disciplined, the unit of Islamic State group fighters infiltrated the Syrian border town of Kobani and unleashed mayhem, battling Kurdish forces. In the end, the militants were all killed, but not before they had accomplished their mission of spreading fear by slaughtering more than 230 civilians, nearly half of them children.”

    But really,,,all they need is jobs.

  27. WSJ: “The President spoke about the need to discredit ISIS’s ‘twisted thinking,’ adding that ‘ideologies are not defeated with guns; they’re defeated by better ideas.’ Yet ISIS’s ideological attraction has everything to do with its battlefield successes, which it can advertise as evidence of Allah’s favor. In other words, the President has it backwards: ISIS cannot be defeated ideologically unless it is humiliated and defeated militarily.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-on-the-run-1436308784

  28. Patrick says:

    “Many here today have devoted their lives to the fight against global poverty, and you know the stakes. We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror. We fight against poverty because opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity. We fight against poverty because faith requires it and conscience demands it. And we fight against poverty with a growing conviction that major progress is within our reach.”

    http://www.un.org/ffd/statements/usaE.htm

  29. nyp says:

    Where in his speech did
    President Obama repeat that much-ridiculed line by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf about the root cause of terrorism being a lack of jobs?

  30. And while the spinners spin a feckless web in an attempt to defend our impotent Commander in Chief…innocent men, women and children face unimaginable horrors, torture and mayhem as their heads are lopped off and affixed to poles to adorn the dusty roads of Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile Ash Carter like the leader of F Troop…struggles to train 60 soldiers to fight tens of thousands vicious and well armed, bloodthirsty killers.

  31. nyp says:

    Yeah, we should just invade. Send over another half million Americans. That always works in the Middle East.

  32. Steve says:

    So do all those “political and economic” efforts….lets double down on those too.

  33. A half million troops was never needed…however, had our President followed the advice of his Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretary of Defense, the military commanders in the area, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff by leaving a residual transitional force of 40,000 to provide security, intelligence and training to sustain the fragile stability that was barely holding Iraq together…we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Panetta writes: “I privately and publicly advocated for a residual force that could provide training and security for Iraq’s military.” …”but found that Mr. Obama’s team at the White House “pushed back, and the differences occasionally became heated.”
    “Those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests,” he said.

  34. Don’t worry. They will come to us soon enough and we can fight them at home.

  35. nyp says:

    Yes, those ISIS fighters are pouring over the Rio Grande. And they are bringing Ebola with them as well.

    If only we had left in Iraq “a residual transitional force of 40,000 to provide security, intelligence and training” (a force the Iraq government refused to accept, there would be no terrorist forces in Syria, Lybia, Tunisia, Iraq. None at all.

  36. Panetta writes of his frustration at the White House, which he says coordinated negotiations but never really led them. And without Mr. Obama’s “personal advocacy,” a deal with Maliki was allowed “to slip away.” “Panetta acknowledged the difficulties of putting together the agreement that would have allowed U.S. forces to stay in the country – it had the support of various leaders in Iraq, but none who were willing to back it publicly – but also said the U.S. could have used its leverage, such as reconstruction aid money, to convince then-President Nouri al-Maliki to support a continued U.S. presence.”

  37. Haters gonna hate…and spinners gonna spin.

  38. nyp says:

    Yup, would have just taken a little more “leverage” and we could have forced the Iraquis to take those 40k non-combat forces against their will. We know that whenever US soldiers are introduced into Muslim countries things quiet down really, really quickly.

  39. Steve says:

    I bet they want the U.S. Military now!

  40. Patrick says:

    “Some of the higher-end predictions that we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam (Hussein) Iraq, are wildly off the mark,” Wolfowitz declared. “It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in a post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself.”

    Don Rumsfeld

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/20/opinion/mills-truth-teller-iraq/index.html

  41. Haters gonna hate…Spinners gonna spin…and Obama just pi$$ed away all the blood and treasure that our brave men and women fought and died for, and now a very dear price will be paid for his stupidity and stubborn insolence.

  42. nyp says:

    What are you talking about? We sent hundreds of thousands of American soldiers to invade Iraq in order to make sure the Iraqis did not use chemical and nuclear weapons against us. And, in ten years, they haven’t done so. So, on its own terms the invasion was a huge success.

  43. Steve says:

    nyp is full of

    surprises

    today.

  44. He’s full of something…that’s for sure!

  45. Steve says:

    Slinging mud in the wrestling pit is fun.

  46. Rincon says:

    Conservatives sound pretty liberal about using our military. And they positively love government spending when the money is spent on the military. We were in Afghanistan for seven years under a so called conservative administration and got nowhere. As in Iraq, we were great at shooting up our enemies, but lost the peace. Face it kids, nation building is a fool’s game in Muslim countries. Now, you guys want to repeat the same mistakes in Syria. For some reason though, you say we never should have gotten involved in Libya. What the heck is the difference? Or should we have tried nation building in Libya too?

    You guys keep insisting that the government should stop its constant tinkering with peoples’ lives and the economy, but somehow, you think it’s a great idea to tinker with the lives and economies of other countries. Does it occur to anyone that it’s none of our business?

    We claim to be a peaceful nation and yet have been involved in more years of warfare in other peoples’ neighborhoods than any country in the world.

    Stop poking the hornet’s nest in the middle east, and the Muslims will soon turn on each other.

  47. Steve says:

    Political uses of the military are wrong.

    As stated before;
    Politics and war do not mix, one must get out of the way for the other to finish.

  48. Patrick says:

    War is merely the logical conclusion of capitalism; is there any doubt as to the reason conservatives support military misadventures?

    I mean, you didn’t really believe bush’s war against reason was about WMDs did you?

  49. Steve says:

    Patrick barks up the wrong tree, I never supported the invasion of Iraq. The target was in Afghanistan.

  50. Rincon says:

    Seems to me that all uses of the military are political.

  51. Steve says:

    Once political actions fail…military is all that remains. But they cannot occupy the same space…one or the other is the only way…or did YOU learn nothing from Vietnam….or Korea for that matter.

  52. Rincon says:

    So we hamstrung the military in Vietnam. I suppose we did limit troop numbers to a mere half a million and I suppose we could have invaded North Vietnam. Do you think that would have done the job or is there something else?

  53. Steve says:

    Could’a just let them do their jobs…one good place to start would have been letting them shoot in the direction the enemy was hiding.
    Get the politicians out of the war they allowed to happen.

  54. Rincon says:

    Atom bombs OK?

  55. Steve says:

    Those go every direction….very anti political….
    And,
    They tend to really ruin the real estate.

    Just let the military do what it does best, break things and kill bad guys.

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