Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS | Syria

Indefensible That Obama Underestimated ISIS

By Thursday, 02 October 2014 08:38 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If Obama always looks stunned by America’s throbbing foreign policy headaches, it may be because more than half the time he is not listening to warnings about national security threats — literally.

On last Sunday’s "60 Minutes" Obama pointed fingers yet again.

This time, it concerned his being surprised by the rise of ISIS. Obama said, “I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

Barack Obama should have put the finger on himself. He might have anticipated ISIS’ steamrolling across Syria and Iraq had he not blown off nearly 60 percent of his Presidential Daily Briefs — PDBs — with America’s top intelligence officers.

The Government Accountability Institute — GAI — a conservative watchdog group, analyzed the official White House calendar and Politico.com’s presidential schedule from Obama’s Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration through Sept. 29, 2014.

Overall, Obama skipped 58 percent of his PDBs.

This outrage has deteriorated throughout Obama’s tenure.

He missed 57.6 percent of his first-term PDBs, the GAI calculates. Obama’s second-term truancy increased to 58.7 percent. Obama was more AWOL from these interactive sessions after his re-election — even as the embers of the deadly Benghazi attack devolved into pan-Libyan bedlam, Vladimir Putin snatched Crimea, Hamas’ rockets pummeled Israel, and America’s southern frontier became a moving sidewalk for illegal aliens from around the world.

Rather than receive his PDBs orally from, ask questions of, and offer guidance to America’s top spies, Obama prefers to receive this information passively on his iPad.

But does he even read it?

“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about ISIL have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the 2012 election,” a foreign-affairs staffer knowledgeable about Obama’s PDBs told London’s Daily Mail Online.

Unlike the detached and delinquent Obama, President George W. Bush attended his PDBs virtually without fail. He reportedly engaged very actively with his briefers from the CIA and other agencies.

Obama’s supporters argue that President Bill Clinton read his PDB papers, rather than discuss them with intelligence professionals. While this hardly frees Obama to shirk his duties, Clinton governed at a time when Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama declared “the end of history.”

In the 1990s, with the Berlin Wall smashed into paperweights and free-trade agreements erupting like cherry blossoms, Clinton likely felt safe reading his PDBs and then counting the post-Cold War peace dividend.

Clinton’s posture looks naïve, perhaps reckless in hindsight.

But Obama cannot claim — as Clinton could — to live in a Seinfeldian era about nothing. With everything unraveling around him at once, Obama should spend every day with his PDB team focusing like an armed drone on those who aim to obliterate America and annihilate Americans — such as ISIS.

So, where has Obama devoted his energies? In essence, the Obama campaign never ends.

Through last July 16, the Washington Post reported, Obama had headlined 393 political fundraisers as president. By comparison, G.W. Bush hosted only 318 fundraisers during his whole presidency. Obama neglected his PDBs for the entire week before the September 11, 2012 Benghazi assault and for three days after that militant-Islamic mayhem. Somehow, Obama found time immediately post-Benghazi to solicit cash in Las Vegas and seek votes in Colorado.

Also, through last Aug. 23, Obama had played 192 rounds of golf as president, according to ObamaGolfCounter.com.

Bush golfed just 24 times while commander-in-chief.

As the global steering wheel seems increasingly beyond Washington’s grasp, America and the world are paying an enormous and growing price for being stuck with a president of the United States who is too lazy to do his job.

Cheap shot? Not at all. Obama himself admits as much.

“I think there’s a laziness in me,” Obama confessed to Barbara Walters on the Dec. 23, 2011 edition of ABC’s "20/20". “It’s probably from growing up in Hawaii, and it’s sunny outside.”

Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Read more reports from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.


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As the global steering wheel seems increasingly beyond Washington’s grasp, America and the world are paying an enormous and growing price for being stuck with a president of the United States who is too lazy to do his job.
Barack Obama, ISIS, Syria
Thursday, 02 October 2014 08:38 AM
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