Conservative Media Are Actually Accusing Obama Of “Advising” The Islamic State

Right-wing media accused President Obama of “advising” and “strategizing” for the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in reaction to reports that Obama said the group had made a strategic error in provoking support for U.S. military action against them.

Obama Reportedly Said Islamic State Made A Strategic Error In Provoking Support For U.S. Military Intervention

NY Times: Obama Said That Islamic State Made A Strategic Error In Killing American Journalists, As It Provoked Support For U.S. Intervention. According to a September 13 New York Times report, Obama told a group of journalists at a private White House meeting on September 10 that the Islamic State's beheading of kidnapped journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff was a strategic error on the group's part, as it had led to greater support for U.S. military action (emphasis added):

Mr. Obama had what guests on Wednesday afternoon described as a bereft look as he discussed the murders of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, particularly because two other Americans are still being held. Days later, ISIS would report beheading a British hostage with another video posted online Saturday.

But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men's deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public's quickly backing military action.

If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention. [The New York Times, 9/13/14]

Right-Wing Media Accuse Obama Of “Advising” Islamic State, Being “Better Terrorist Than The Terrorists”

Fox Hosts: “It Seems Inappropriate To Be Strategizing On Behalf Of Your Enemy.” On the September 16 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Kennedy said of the Times report, “It seems inappropriate to be strategizing on behalf of your enemy.” Co-host Sandra Smith added that Obama was “detailing a strategy” for the Islamic State to “combat the American people.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 9/16/14]

WSJ Editor James Taranto: Obama Is "A Better Terrorist Than The Terrorists." In the Wall Street Journal on September 15, editorial board member James Taranto criticized Obama's reported comments from the Times in a post headlined “The ISIS Adviser”:

He's a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, a better political director than his political director, and to hear President Obama tell it--or, to be precise, to hear the New York Times retell others' retelling of Obama's telling it--he's a better terrorist than the terrorists.


As comical as it is for the president of the United States to imagine himself giving political advice to a terrorist army, Obama's musings are also revealing. He imputes to the Islamic State the objective of forestalling U.S. military intervention. It understates matters considerably to observe that there is no obvious reason to suppose that is so. [The Wall Street Journal, 9/15/14]

NRO: “Did ISIS Call [Obama] And Ask For Advice?” In a September 15 blog post for National Review Online, Jim Geraghty wondered, “Why is our president thinking about what he would tell ISIS if he were advising them?”, asking:

Okay... what's the point? Why spend any time thinking about that scenario? Did ISIS call and ask for advice? They didn't attach notes; they detached heads. That's the choice they made. Now the question is what we're going to do about it.


Viewed from another angle, President Obama's comment sounds like a complaint. If ISIS hadn't beheaded Americans, there wouldn't be such widespread demand for action against ISIS in the American public.

“If I were advising ISIS...”

Well, you're not, Mr. President. What, are you looking for another job? Some sort of freelance consulting gig on the job, when you clock out as Commander-in-Chief? [National Review, 9/15/14] “Obama As ISIS Adviser?”'s Dan Riehl penned an article under the headline “Obama As ISIS Adviser?” on September 14, claiming the president gave the Islamic State “advice”:

In a somewhat bizarre snippet from a New York Times account of Obama's prelude to war with ISIS, we find this strange bit of advice for ISIS from the Commander-in-Chief himself. The Times fails to point out that it makes no sense, while also betraying Obama's lack of leadership. [, 9/14/14]