Writers of the fictional Showtime series tap into something the administration cannot seem to grasp.
The season finale of “Homeland” on December 20 wrapped up what was arguably the best season since the first. This season, “Homeland” took on a “ripped from the headlines” feel, with storylines similar to the real-life counterparts of Edward Snowden, Vladimir Putin, and more importantly, the rise of the terrorist group ISIS.
The timing couldn’t be more prescient, particularly with the havoc ISIS is causing around the world. It couldn’t be more different from President Obama’s tendency to look the other way while he insists his strategy to defeat ISIS is working, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The fifth season of Homeland begins in part with Peter Quinn, a CIA operative returning from a two-year stint in Syria where he was assessing the situation with Bashar al-Assad and taking part in Special Forces missions against ISIS. In a meeting with CIA, military, and civilian officials, Quinn’s brief, tense exchange exemplifies the way our current administration has handled ISIS.
Bureaucrat: You said the program should be renewed, I’m asking is our strategy working?
Quinn: What strategy? [Awkward silence.] Tell me what the strategy is and I’ll tell you if it’s working. [More awkward silence.]
The Danger Of Obama’s Ignorance
Two years ago, ISIS was not even a household name. They were often referred to as an “al-Qaeda linked terror group.” The president, asked about ISIS’s January 3, 2014 takeover of Fallujah, said the following in a New Yorker profile published on January 27, 2014: “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
The president waved ISIS off as a nuisance, something to trifle with after he dealt with more important threats to national security, such as climate change.
Nine months later, when ISIS executed American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria, and the group began taking over more land in Syria and Iraq, the president finally gave an address to the country where he promised to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.
While the president brushed off the threat of ISIS, the CIA had been monitoring its growth. CIA Director John Brennan, in a speech at the Center For Strategic And International Studies following the November terrorist attacks in Paris, spoke of ISIS and its growth: “[ISIS] was, you know, pretty much decimated when U.S. forces were there in Iraq. It had maybe 700-or-so adherents left. And then it grew quite a bit in the last several years, when it split then from al-Qaida in Syria, and set up its own organization.”
Just days after President Obama delivered his “degrade and destroy” remarks, a CIA report revealed information about the growth of ISIS:
A CIA assessment puts the number of ISIS fighters at possibly more than three times the previous estimates.
The terror group that calls itself the Islamic State ‘can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria,’ a CIA spokesman told CNN on Thursday.
It takes a remarkable amount of ignorance or a complete lack of awareness to say a terrorist organization is the equivalent of a JV team while they’re actually growing at a rate of 4,000 percent. The contrast to President George W. Bush’s tenure is stark.
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