At a press conference in Estonia, Wednesday, Obama sent conflicting signals about his ultimate goal in the fight against ISIS, saying initially that the objective is to “degrade and destroy” the terror group, but moments later saying the objective is to make it a “manageable problem.”
In response to questions about his strategy for ISIS, Obama said, “ultimately our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it is no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States.”
Never-mind that a goal is not to be confused with a strategy – later in the press conference, when Obama returned to the topic, he sounded somewhat less resolute.
Via Fox News:
He clarified that if the U.S. is joined by an international coalition, they can “continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”
The remarks are likely to sow confusion on Capitol Hill, and possibly among allies.“Are we going to contain ISIS or are we going to crush ISIS? And the president has not answered that,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), R-Ill., told Fox News, reacting to the president’s remarks.
Speaking Tuesday night on Fox News, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), R-Ariz., said the Islamic State has “got to be destroyed” and claimed the president does not yet have a strategy to implement that.
Fox News’ Chief White House Correspondent, Ed Henry echoed that criticism on Twitter, this morning:
So bottom line: President got two more questions on a “strategy” to deal with #isis and still did not have one
— Ed Henry (@edhenryTV) September 3, 2014