Yes, fantastic is the proper word. As in the dictionary definition: "Unrealistic and irrational, based on fantasy."
What else can you call a White House whose spokesman, Josh Earnest, insisted Tuesday that the administration's track record on ISIS has been an "overall" success. Just two days earlier, ISIS butchers had captured the key Iraqi city of Ramadi, a mere 70 miles from Baghdad.
Earnest actually mocked a skeptical reporter by asking whether we should "light our hair on fire" every time there is a setback. That image is especially grotesque when one recalls the Jordanian soldier burned alive in a cage by ISIS.
A somewhat different assessment comes from ace military analyst Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a straight shooter who was right on the money about Bowe Bergdahl and many other issues.
"ISIS is on the move," Shaffer pithily declared on The Factor this week. He reported that ISIS has formed a partnership with a terror group in Afghanistan, and that the very unholy alliance now controls five provinces in northern Afghanistan. The trademark beheading has begun, and ISIS is reportedly eager to exploit Afghanistan's rich mineral wealth.
So, to paraphrase the old question: Who you gonna believe, Tony Shaffer and his impeccable Pentagon sources … or the impeccably-groomed Josh Earnest?
Then there is Earnest's boss, President Obama himself. He has often seemed downright apathetic when it comes to assessing and confronting ISIS, but no one can say Mr. Obama can't identify a grave threat when he sees one.
The president spoke at this week's United States Coast Guard Academy commencement, addressing an ocean of newly-minted officers and their families. President Obama used his bully pulpit to issue a stark and ominous warning about … climate change.
Yes, the president implied that "climate change" caused a drought in Africa, which in turn led to instability that was "exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram." Incredibly – fantastically? – the president also claimed that climate change led to crop failures and high food prices that "helped fuel the early unrest in Syria."
Rather than look anywhere in the vicinity of a mirror and reassess his policies and pronouncements (remember that "red line?"), our commander-in-chief urges future military leaders to confront the chimera of climate change. It is vaguely reminiscent of FDR: "The only thing we have to fear is temperatures that may – or may not – be rising."
Does our president actually believe this stuff? Or is it a convenient diversion from his countless failures in the war on global terror? Those are the only two possibilities, and it's hard to say which would be more alarming.
As Secretary of State Kerry, Josh Earnest, and President Obama point out, there are occasional bright spots. Last weekend an Army Delta Force team crossed into Syria and killed some ISIS jihadists, among them a top financial guy. It was a clockwork-like raid that demonstrated our military's phenomenal skills and indisputable bravery. Another Factor guest said this week that our fight against ISIS can be defined as "one step forward, two steps back." The Delta raid was certainly a very welcome step forward.
But on the "two steps back" side of the equation, a harsh assessment comes from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. She bemoans the fact that ISIS is now a force in at least a dozen nations, where it "annihilates in the most brutal of ways." Feinstein, no conservative war hawk, described ISIS as "evil" and expressed the need to "eradicate" the terrorist group.
Senator Feinstein's unclouded judgment, her brutal honesty, and her grasp of reality can accurately be described as "superb." Which just happens to be an alternate meaning of … "fantastic."