Were you there for the Battle of Hashtag Hill? Nancy Pelosi attempts to make the case that the US strategy against ISIS is working somewhere in this exchange with newly minted MSNBC host Patrick Murphy, a former House colleague of Pelosi’s from Florida. The range of choices for examples of victory must be very, very narrow for Pelosi to claim victory — if indeed that’s what she’s doing at all:
FMR. REP. PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC HOST: This past week, though, when it comes to ISIS, the mixed result — unfortunately, Ramadi was taken over by ISIS. The same time, the army’s delta force captured the money man for ISIS in Syria. so obviously mixed results. So you think the strategy’s working? What else needs to be done?
REP. NANCY PELOSI: It’s an enormous challenge. And we have to fight it on every front, including the front of social media. That’s a place where they have really made more advances than you would have suspected. And that is where we have to fight them, as well. This apprehension in Syria — well, killing of one and taking of his wife, as well as important intelligence information was a success. Again, we have to fight them on all fronts. Communication-wise as well as militarily.
RCP headlines this as Pelosi claiming that the US has made “advances” against ISIS on social media. On a second read, though, it looks more like she’s highlighting the advances made by ISIS, not the US. It’s the claim that “we have to fight them on all fronts” that’s the most laughable. We’re not fighting them on all fronts, or at least literally on any fronts. That would require putting US troops on the ground to eject ISIS from places like Ramadi, Mosul, the outskirts of Kirkuk, Nineveh Province, and the like, where US troops actually did fight on all fronts from 2003-8 and beat ISIS when it was called al-Qaeda in Iraq. One big reason Pelosi can’t make a coherent argument for success is because we’re not fighting on all fronts.
Pelosi’s right in the sense that communications and propaganda matter, but that wasn’t what Murphy asked. His question related to military strategy and the results of it on the battlefield. Pelosi dodged this by bringing up an almost entirely unrelated issue of propaganda, and even then couldn’t claim any kind of progress by the Obama administration against the terrorist army. That makes the case for strategic success even more desperate, does it not?
Addendum: This former Rep. Patrick Murphy is not the same former Rep. Patrick Murphy who will run for the Democratic nomination in Florida for Marco Rubio’s Senate Seat. This is the former Rep. Patrick Murphy who helped the injured escape the train wreck in Philadelphia earlier this month. It’s sometimes difficult to tell us Irish folk apart.