A clearly annoyed President Obama on Monday angrily refused to consider any changes to his anti-ISIS policy — even doubling down on his pre-Paris claim that the Islamic State has been “contained.”
Obama has good cause to feel defensive: He’s facing pointed criticism not just from reporters, but also from fellow Democrats.
At the Democratic debate Saturday night, Hillary Clinton declared flatly that ISIS “cannot be contained, it must be defeated.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that ISIS “is not contained, [it] is expanding.”
“I don’t think bombing runs alone — and we have done about 8,000 now — can really make a difference,” she said, demanding “the kind of precise military strategy and tactics” that will finally defeat ISIS.
The same day, French President François Hollande delivered an emotional speech to Parliament, calling Friday’s Paris attacks “an act of war” and vowing to “destroy ISIS.”
Obama, meanwhile, offered only vague talk of making adjustments: “There are going to be some things that we try that don’t work; there will be some strategies we try that do work. And when we find strategies that work, we will double down on those.”
But the thrust of his remarks was all about staying the course. “The strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that will ultimately work,” he insisted.
“We have the right strategy, and we’re going to see it through,” the president vowed.
In just the past two weeks, ISIS massacred 224 civilians by downing a Russian Metrojet over Egypt, along with killings of 41 in Beirut and 19 in Baghdad — and now 132 in Paris, which Obama on Monday called a “setback.”