But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.
If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.This is scary on a number of levels.
First, the president seems to confirm his policies and strategy (if he finally has one) follow polling numbers, not the root realities taking place in the Middle East. He's not acting to defeat a foe, he's acting to shore up his poll numbers. That's not leadership.
Obama's comments suggest he wouldn't have hardened his edge against ISIS had it not beheaded two American hostages. Again polling comes into play, but Obama seems to say that all the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other beheadings, crucifixions or other atrocities carried out by the Islamic State hadn't elevated things to a level where he was sure he wanted to act.
And lastly, for the president to put himself in the shoes of advising ISIS is unsettling in and of itself, even if it's just pretend. It's almost as if the president is betraying some inner sympathy with what ISIS, a self-proclaimed Caliphate, is doing in the Middle East.
Obama blames ISIS for swaying public opinion to a point where he had no choice by to partake in wider military action against it.
It's like Obama doesn't want to own his own decisions on this one. Obama still feels compelled to make additional excuses for acting.