Commentary Magazine


Obama’s Orwellian World

At his press briefing today, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if our war strategy against the Islamic State is a success. “Overall, yes,” Earnest replied.

Overall, that answer is untrue. Overall, that answer is insane. Overall, that answer is Orwellian.

To show how utterly dishonest this claim is, you might want to look at these pictures of members of the Islamic State holding a massive military parade in West Anbar, celebrating their victory in Ramadi. That would be Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in Iraq, which fell completely to militants of the Islamic State on Sunday. This represented, in the words of the New York Times, “the biggest victory so far this year for the Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast areas of Syria and Iraq that it controls.”

But that victory by ISIS shouldn’t obscure the fact that, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Islamic State leaders in Syria have sent money, trainers and fighters to Libya in increasing numbers, raising new concerns for the U.S. that the militant group is gaining traction in its attempts to broaden its reach and expand its influence. In recent months, U.S. military officials said, Islamic State has solidified its foothold in Libya as it searches for ways to capitalize on rising popularity among extremist groups around the world.”

And those gains in Libya, in turn, shouldn’t obscure the fact that last week, as the Associated Press points out, “The Islamic State group … seized more territory in Syria’s central province of Homs amid clashes with government forces that left dozens dead and wounded on both sides.”

The Islamic State’s gains in Libya, in turn, shouldn’t conceal the fact that “Militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Nigeria’s fearsome Boko Haram – all once linked to al Qaeda – have … pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

Beyond all these gains in individual countries — because of these gains in individual countries — CBS News reports, “ISIS has a dynamism and fervor that has seemed to fade for al Qaeda.”

Remember when President Obama pledged to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State? And assured us earlier this year that the Islamic State is “on the defensive and … is going to lose”? Those pledges were bluster, just as was Mr. Obama’s assurance that if Syria’s Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, he would be crossing “a red line for us.” President Assad used chemical weapons — and Mr. Obama did nothing in response.

The world — our adversaries and our allies — got the message. President Obama’s words mean nothing. He’s supine. He’s weak. He’s a laughingstock.

That is bad enough. But for the president and his press secretary to enter an Alice in Wonderland world makes things even worse. There is no known universe in which our current war strategy against the Islamic State can be considered, overall, a “success.” In fact it is, by virtually every objective measure, a failure. And not just any failure. It is the latest link in a chain of catastrophic foreign policy failures by Mr. Obama.

For Josh Earnest to claim that what we are witnessing in Iraq and throughout the Middle East is evidence of success is beyond spin. It’s beyond insulting. It is literally unbelievable. The contempt Mr. Earnest and the president he serves have for the truth, and the American people, is stunning. It’s a kind of corruption that is rare and worrisome to find in any political office, but especially in the presidency. And as Mr. Obama’s failures continue to multiple, so, we can assume, will his administration’s deceptions.

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5 Responses to “Obama’s Orwellian World”


    On top of all you pointed out, the battle for Ramadi was over fairly quickly. In other words, it wasn’t even a close contest. The Iraqi army fled in the same way as they did from Mosul et. al. last year — the kind of collapse that ostensibly caused BHO to change strategy and engage ISIS militarily. So if Iraqi troops are performing at the same level as when they abandoned Mosul, what is the proper description of “progress” in the current situation compared with the Iraqi army collapse of 2014?
    Of course as you say the strategy of “degrade and ultimately destroy” was never what BHO had in mind anyway. I doubt that any successful military strategy in the history of warfare was ever described as “degrade and ultimately destroy”. He was telling us right from the start he intended to do nothing of substance. In that way, he is keeping his word.

  2. MARK REED says:

    It is all of a sad, pathetic piece: “shovel ready” jobs that weren’t so shovel ready after taxpayers spent nearly one trillion dollars; a declining unemployment rate that masks a record number of Americans no longer working; Boston police acting “stupidly” when they did anything but; the Russia “reset” that has been a disaster; the “pivot” to Asia that hasn’t happened; the many wonders of the Arab spring that only plunged the Mideast into total chaos, etc. It is genuinely frightening when one listens to our president and his spokespeople, only to conclude that we are living in “Alice in Wonderland.”

  3. K T NOELL says:

    Finally somebody has said it:
    “The contempt Mr. Earnest and the president he serves have for the truth, and the American people, is stunning.”
    Finally. The contempt for the American people.
    Finally, Mr. Wehner. Thank you.


    Susan Rice matched and raised Josh Earnest at a recent photography exhibit of severely wounded US combat veterans.

    There she said: “Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans.” Many in her audience were fuming over the fall of Ramadi.

    Rice said of those honorable soldiers who had given their limbs in the service of their coungtry, “They all made us proud.” However a year earlier she had said the same of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, now facing a court-martial for desertion. Though he was already back then giving off a stench, Obama, desperate to get rid of the Guantanamo prisoners, had traded him for the release to the Taliban of five dangerous detainees.

    What was the quality of Rice’s words in praise of and cruelly wounded Americans when she bestowed them as fulsomely on a scoundrel like Bergdahl to justify her boss’ self-serving deal.


    There is no way to even understand the disaster this President has brought to the American people and the rest of the free world.

    Anyone with any ability to understand the situation that the USA and the rest of the world faces, can see the futility and incompetence that the Obama crew has brought the world community.

    We can only hope that the next president will be a leader the world can truly count on and respect.

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