Obama under fire for 'we don't have a strategy' gaffe on ISIS as he's accused of having 'head buried in hole on first green'
(Personally, I think is head is buried in a different hole)
Texas congressman compares Obama to bumbling deputy Barney Fife from 'The Andy Griffith Show'
Pentagon insider says Joint Chiefs of Staff are 'seeing red' and 'spitting nails' following Obama's candid admission
Generals are 'losing confidence in their mission,' said a former senior aide to a retired defense secretary
House Intel Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Obama's performance was 'really shocking given the severity of the threat'
Published: 09:36 EST, 29 August 2014 | Updated: 09:52 EST, 29 August 2014
Lawmakers are fuming over President Barack Obama's admission on Thursday that his White House lacks a strategy for dealing with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Syria, with one congressman comparing his performance to the bumbling sheriff's deputy Barney Fife from 'The Andy Griffith Show.'
And as House and Senate members piled on with sharp criticism, a former senior aide to a retired defense secretary told MailOnline that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are 'seeing red' and 'spitting nails' following Obama's candid admission.
'They're losing confidence in their mission,' said the long-time Pentagon insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 'When the president doesn't know what direction to point people in, all his advisers can do is guess at what he wants. That's not good.'
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox News.on Thursday that Obama articulated 'a pitiful foreign policy, and Barney Fife is in charge,'
No strategy: Obama said Thursday that he hasn't settled on a direction in Syria as ISIS solidifies its bases there despite losing ground to US airstrikes in Iraq
Taking over: This undated image posted on a militant website shows fighters from ISIS marching in Raqqa, Syria
'I don't know where he's getting his information,' said Gohmert. 'Maybe it's CIA Director [John] Brennan who said earlier this year that 'No, these guys don't want a caliphate'.'
'He must have his head buried in a hole somewhere on the first green.'
As Washington scratched its collective hear, the president headed on the road Friday for a political fundraising trip.
'I don't want to put the cart before the horse,' Obama had said Thursday, referring to the thorny problem of whether to attack ISIS inside Syria's borders. 'We don't have a strategy yet.'
'We need to make sure we've got clear plans, and we're developing them,' the president said. 'At that point I will consult with Congress and make sure their voices are heard.'
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on CNN that Obama's appearance on Thursday 'was an odd press conference at the very best, but to have a press conference to say we don't have a strategy was really shocking given the severity of the threat.'
Obama mentioned four times on Thursday his intention to seek advice from Congress before deploying more military assets in the Middle East, likely in response to concerns from members of the House and Senate that he was unconstitutionally freezing them out.
But 'there's no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress,' Obama told the press corps, 'before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.'
The president, clad in a muted tan suit that drew as many comments on Twitter as the content of his remarks, emphasized that he is mainly focused now on pushing back ISIS in Iraq, where American military jets and drones have executed more than 100 airstrikes this month.
But he boasted that America could put down the ISIS threat in Syria – at least in the short-term – at a time of his choosing.
'As I've said before – I think I said it in the previous press conference,' he said, 'our military is the best in the world.'
'We can rout ISIL on the ground and keep a lid on things temporarily, he insisted, referring to ISIS by the White House's preferred name. 'But then as soon as we leave, the same problems come back again.'
'My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself,' the president said.
Obama: US still developing strategy to deal with ISIS
The vicious terrorist group has its most comfortable stronghold in Syria, leaving open the possibility that defeating them in Iraq could leave them more entrenched one nation to the west – in a country that shares a hotly contested border with Israel, a key U.S. ally.
The administration has green-lighted surveillance flyovers across portions of eastern Syria in recent days to assess ISIS's numbers and evaluate potential military targets.
White House aides have leaked to a variety of news outlets the idea that Obama is considering striking ISIS in Syria despite objections from the country's dictator, Bashar al-Assad.
Syria is in general disarray as rebels from a range of moderate and militant Islamist groups have fought a civil war for more than three years with the aim of taking over the country.
ISIS is among the groups that oppose Assad. Crushing them could strengthen the barbaric regime in Damascus, and vice versa.
Horror: Video emerged Thursday showing ISIS militants marching 250 Syrian soldiers, lad only in their underwear, to a mass execution near the key northern Tabqa air base
Gathering strength: ISIS captured this munitions warehouse in Raqqa, Syria on Sunday
Dealing with that conundrum 'is going to be a long-term project,' Obama said. 'It's going to require us to stabilize Syria in some fashion' but identifying moderate Sunni Muslims who can govern the country.
Expanding his Iraq campaign to a second country, though, could highlight his administration's failure to intervene a year ago after Obama warned Assad about the consequences of crossing a 'red line' by deploying chemical weapons against the rebels.
He said Thursday that he has directed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff 'to prepare a range of options' for him.
A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found that 54 per cent of Americans believe Obama isn't tough enough with foreign adversaries. They rank ISIS among the top foreign threats to the U.S.
'While overall his job rating has remained stable this year (currently 42% approve, 50% disapprove),' Pew reported, 'he gets his best rating for handling race relations and more negative ratings for handling policy toward Israel, the situation in Russia and Ukraine, and Iraq.'
Nearly half of Americans, 48 per cent, told pollsters that America 'is a less important and powerful world leader than it was 10 years ago,' according to Pew.
Just 15 per cent said its importance globally has grown during the Obama administration, a number that is near a 40-year low.