Obama’s Never-Ending Theater of War


Don’t say the president hasn’t altered his approach to fighting ISIS after Paris and San Bernardino. Something actually has changed: the president no longer uses the phrase “degrade and ultimately destroy,” perhaps because too many Americans have concluded that it is an obvious rhetorical dodge, meant to sound toughish while allowing miles of wiggle-room. (Some of us pointed this out it the first time the president employed the phrase, way back in September of 2014.) Ever since Obama tried to reassure the nation before Thanksgiving, “degrade” has been out, replaced by plain old “destroy.” So it also went with his widely-panned Oval Office address last weekend, and his listless, weird, faux-tough guy remarks at the Pentagon today.