August 22, 2014

Unlike ‘Mission Accomplished,’ Press Barely Mentions Obama’s ‘JV Team’ Ridicule of ISIS

The press never let George W. Bush forget about that “Mission Accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government’s military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”

So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation’s defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):

Defense secretary: ISIS threat ‘beyond anything we’ve seen’

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is beyond “just a terrorist group” and poses a greater threat than al Qaeda, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” he said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon about the Sunni militant group that has taken over territory in Iraq and Syria and earlier this week beheaded American journalist James Foley.

“ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,” Hagel said, using another acronym for the group. “They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded.”

“So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it … and get ready,” he said.

Hagel’s remarks come months after President Obama dismissed ISIS, calling the group “JV”.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was possible to “contain” ISIS, but “not in perpetuity.”

“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated,” said Dempsey, who spoke alongside Hagel.

The Jerusalem Post correctly interpreted yesterday’s remarks as an admission by top administration officials that the nation is in greater danger of being struck by a major terrorist attack than it was 13 years ago — when it happened:

Pentagon warns: Islamic State threat greater than 9/11

“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said.

The Islamic State poses a greater threat to the United States than al Qaeda did leading up to September 11, 2001, top brass at the Pentagon acknowledged on Thursday, discussing the crisis fast unfolding in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, speaking to journalists with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. “We must prepare for everything.”

Hagel said that the “military prowess” of the Islamic State, coupled with its deep sources of financing, poses an unprecedented threat to the United States. The secretary was asked whether the group has a comparable operation capacity as Al Qaeda had in 2001.

General Dempsey added that, should the Islamic State succeed in forming a pseudo-state in the regions of Iraq and the Levant, the world would then be faced with an historic security challenge.

While what Dempsey was referring to could be seen as hypothetical, what Hagel said — “beyond anything we’ve seen (his words) and “poses an unprecedented threat” (JPosts’s words) — pertained to the here and now.

Three Google News searches on relevant terms (“Obama JV,” “Obama jayvee,” and “Obama junior varsity“; all not in quotes, sorted by date) demonstrate how light the coverage of Obama’s ignorant January comment in establishment press outlets has been. Similar searches at the Associated Press’s national site (here, here and here) come up empty, with one exception going back to August 8. A compendium of Obama comments through the years, walled off from stories actually covering current developments, opens as follows:

President Barack Obama’s comments on the United States’ role in Iraq have evolved over the years, up to his decision Thursday to renew military action.

They are good at covering for him, aren’t they? The fact is that Obama’s “jayvee” comment in January in his own words was just wrong, flippant, and arrogant — things that cannot be said about what Bush 43 never said about “Mission Accomplished.”

A footnote on “Mission Accomplished”:

… the ship’s crew, in collusion with White House staff, had strung a large banner bearing the words “mission accomplished” behind the spot where Bush was due to speak. The banner was seen on TV throughout the president’s speech. But Bush himself knew nothing about the decision to display the banner, and certainly did not approve it.

Cross-posted at



  1. PITIFUL….
    Bush spoke under a banner ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’
    Perhaps CO ordered it, but Bush must be assumed to acquiesce to it, since he failed (rightly, it is the prerogative of CO) to reject it.

    I agree with your point here, but when you complicate things with your own DISINGENUOUS, if not INTENTIONALLY misleading commentary, you diminish our position.

    In simpler language, you destroy credibility, NEEDLESSLY.
    PLEASE? Obama is an evil liar, there is no need to reach for more at such a price in crediblity.

    Comment by padraeg — August 22, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

  2. #1, What I stated were and remain facts:
    - Fact: Bush didn’t say it.
    - Fact: Bush didn’t adopt it. He said “Our mission continues.”
    - Fact: The Abe Lincoln crew and WH staff did the banner without his knowledge. (From THEIR perspective, THEIR mission was accomplished.)
    - Credible interpretation: Based on the content of his speech, the claim made at the link, “Bush himself knew nothing about the decision to display the banner, and certainly did not approve it” is certainly believable, and the default assumption absent evidence to the contrary. If you recall, Bush decided to have some fun landing a jet, which makes that assertion more credible.

    I’m sorry you won’t recognize them.

    If you want to make the case, as the author at the link does, that “It is true that Bush’s speech, in which he announced the end of major combat operations, was far too triumphant about U.S. military achievements,” fine. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but in retrospect it was, not the least because he underestimated the left’s wish to see the Iraq occupation fail and to proactively undermine it.

    But please, don’t try to claim that I’m being “DISINGENUOUS, if not INTENTIONALLY misleading.” Because I’m not. Period.

    Comment by Tom — August 22, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

  3. #2, this is what you call a moral equivalence argument to lessen the degree of a horrific policy failure by Obama. Obama’s piles of dead bodies are getting higher and higher WITHOUT a major military intervention on the part of the US, Libya notwithstanding.

    Ironic that Obama has killed more people in 6 years (>225,000) by meddling, piddling and dithering than George W Bush did (69,353) in 8 years with 2 major military initiatives of our choice and planning.

    The truly frightening part that even liberals should be concerned, never mind ashamed of, is that the rate of Obama’s death toll is ACCELERATING. IF things keep going this way with no intervention the body count may well be in the millions by the time Obama leaves office.


    The details

    Iraq – From 2005 to 2011 Iraqi Civilians: 50,152 note that a fair number of terrorists are included in this count because this website only delineated “military” vs “civilian” of which we know were non uniformed fighters.

    Military deaths 4,803 from 2003 to 2011.

    Since Obama chose to get out of Iraq in 2011 we can credit all deaths to George W Bush since it started under his watch. Anything after the 2011 pull out is on Obama.

    Iraq subtotal military and civilian deaths: (50,152+4,803)= 54,955


    Military deaths – 1.049 from 2001 to 2008, note that the total count to date is 3,468, Obama gets credit starting 2009 in this theater he and liberals claimed this was the only legitimate war we should have been involved and stayed involved by his choice.–present)

    Civilian deaths are estimated around 20,000 from 2001 to 2014, backing out to end of 2008 we get approx. 13,349 deaths on George W Bush’s watch.

    Afghanistan subtotal military and civilian deaths: (1049+13,349)=14,398

    Comment by dscott — August 24, 2014 @ 9:00 am

  4. Follow up for those interested in a low estimate of how many people Obama’s policies have killed over the past 6 years:

    Obama’s policies have killed well north of 225,000 people. The death toll is ticking away like the US national debit. This is just in these three countries where Obama meddled in not counting Egypt and other places. Obama has caused the deaths of more people in his six years than George W Bush ever did in his eight years. How many people will be dead then when he leaves office on January 21, 2017????????


    Obama’s body count in Syria: 191,000 and counting.

    Obama’s body count in Iraq???? 13,000 (5,500 in 2014 and 7,800 in 2013) + since the beginning of ISIS offensive in 2013

    The full body count to date is around 26,800+ since the US troop pull out in 2011–present) These are just civilian deaths, thousands of Iraqi soldiers not counted.


    Egypt got off light, relatively speaking, with around 1,300 deaths totaling from both revolutions (Obama demanding Mubarak go and Egyptians kicking out the Muslim Brotherhood whom Obama supported).


    Obama’s body count in Libya: 9000 to 10,000 and counting.

    Based on the numbers, between 5,887 and 6,609 opposition members/fighters (including some civilian supporters) and between 3,309 and 4,227 Gaddafi loyalists had been killed by October 23, 2011…

    …In January 2013, the new Libyan government stated, based on unfinished research, that 4,700 rebel fighters and a similar number of loyalist soldiers were killed during the conflict.

    And the body pile is still getting higher.

    Comment by dscott — August 24, 2014 @ 10:02 am

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