Yesterday, President Obama stood in front of an international press pool and admitted that “we don’t yet have a complete strategy” to defeat ISIS.

It was a great moment for American foreign relations.

After that disastrous press conference, officials from the Administration slid into a slow meltdown, walking back Obama’s painfully telling comments with explanations of what he really meant.

From last night, via Mediaite:

State Department spokesman John Kirby was on CNN earlier tonight, speaking with Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer brought up the remark and asked, “What’s taking so long?”

This was Kirby’s response:

“What the president was referring to was that the training and equipment strategy that we have been executing isn’t complete yet because there still have to be commitments from the Iraqi side. You need trainees, you need more trainees, and we’re working with them on that.”

But he pointed out the U.S. has already been training and equipped plenty of Iraqi forces already.

You can watch the segment here.

Jeff Rathke, another State Department spokesman, also spoke to the press and stressed that Obama was not speaking to overall strategy.

As I pointed out yesterday, the scandal doesn’t lie in our lack of a flawless offensive in Iraq and Syria, but in the fact that there’s been no forward motion whatsoever represented in the information that Obama and his lieutenants have made available to the press and the general public.

The international community looks at Washington, D.C. and senses the crisis of competence that has gripped the White House since last year. If Obama had gotten up in front of the press and said, “we’ve been training troops and deploying equipment, but before we can truly be effective we need more support from Iraqi leadership,” I’d be writing a thinkpiece about strained relations with the Middle East. Instead, I’m forced to point out the simple fact that, when faced with major questions, the best the president could do was admit that he doesn’t have his act together.

Crises of competence generally lead to crises of confidence, and that’s exactly where we’re heading unless the Administration can convince foreign leaders that our officials are indeed still capable of taking the lead in the battle against Islamic extremism.

All things considered, then…is it 2017 yet?


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