Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, The New York Times: "President Obama's admission this week that 'we don't have a strategy yet' to deal with (ISIS in Syria) is startling. It is also dangerous. ... The threat ISIS poses only grows over time. It cannot be contained. It must be confronted. ... War-weary Americans ... cannot ignore this threat. ISIS is now one of the largest, richest terrorist organizations in history (and) it occupies a growing safe haven ... spanning two countries. (Confronting) ISIS in Iraq, but not in Syria, would be fighting with one hand tied behind our back."
Nick Gillespie, Reason: "The problem isn't that the president isn't hawkish enough. It's that he really doesn't have a plan for figuring out if, how and when to use force effectively in the pursuit of U.S. goals. ... Obama also needs (a) defensible policy for the war on terror — one that he can sell to Republicans, allies and especially the American people whom he has treated as an afterthought in all this. Despite the claims of hawks and (ISIS) itself, the terrorist group is hardly an existential threat to the West any more than al-Qaeda was."
Peter Beinart, The Atlantic: "Obama is neither a dove nor a hawk. He's a fierce minimalist. ... Obama only unsheathes his sword against people he thinks might kill American civilians. (Because ISIS has) threatened terrorism against the U.S., Obama's gone from dove to hawk. ... The administration is doing all this to prevent ISIS from killing Americans, not to put Syria back together again. ... Obama's Mideast strategy is not grand. It's not inspiring. It's not idealistic. But it's what the American people want."
Aaron Blake, The Washington Post: "As with all gaffes, the worst ones are the ones that confirm people's pre-existing suspicions. ... This strikes us as a legacy problem for Obama. ... 'We don't have a strategy yet' could become pretty unhelpful shorthand for his foreign policy if things don't go well."
Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist: "If our goal is not to defeat ISIS, we shouldn't be going halfway on military action. ... We need to (understand) what the peace we seek looks like. ... Then we can go about doing what is necessary. ... Moderate intervention/nation-building wouldn't be wise even if we had a commander in chief whom any of the bad guys in the world took seriously."
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