The State Department’s Marie Harf got herself into trouble yesterday by employing a Bush-era talking point about the inability to “win this war by killing” the terrorists, adding, before being cut off by an incredulous Chris Matthews, that “we need in the medium- and long-term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether its lack of opportunity for jobs…”
The ridicule rolled in swiftly. Harf, defensive and confused, seemed to conclude that she was witnessing an irrational backlash driven by pure partisanship, and took to the Twitters to point out that all she was doing was recycling a point made in the past by men like Mike Mullen and George W. Bush, among others.
The authorization for the use of military force against ISIS that the Obama administration sent Congress this week is not worthy of the name. Its language is far more about what the president won’t do against the terrorist army that controls much of Syria and Iraq—limits on ground troops and a sunset provision for the authorization after three years—than what he will do. Congress should reject it.