In a speech this afternoon, President Obama talked up the Iraq War in the broadest terms possible, praising the bravery of the pilots launching airstrikes in the country, and again taking credit for saving those “folks on the mountain,” presumably referring to the largely mythical Yazidi calamity that was the initial pretext for the conflict.
At the same time, he denied any existing plans to expand the war into Syria, and indeed claimed there “we don’t have a strategy” at all in place for any part of the war yet, saying asking Congress for permission for the war right now would be putting the cart before the horse until he figures out how big of a war it will be. The White House later clarified that as “no military strategy.”
Having no strategy at all would certainly explain a few things about the haphazard escalation of the conflict, as well as its apparent open-endedness. President Obama said Secretary of State John Kerry is being sent abroad to build a coalition for the war, because apparently other nations might want to get in on this strategy-free, heedless war.
Underscoring just how little clarity the administration is willing to offer on the war, President Obama conceded that the war will “cost some money,” without saying exactly how many billions of dollars per year we’re talking. That, along with where the money is going to come from, likewise seems to be getting punted down the road until the war is escalated to a level he’s comfortable with.