A new style in announcing an old war

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the recent airstrikes against ISIS on the South Lawn of the White House. Win McNamee/Getty Images

It was odd staging when President Obama announced a new war for the United States today. He did so on the lawn of the White House rather than behind a desk in the Oval Office. He was about to depart for the climate summit in New York.

Everything in the visual was fine, until he walked away as reporters shouted questions.

President Barack Obama after speaking Tuesday about the participation of five Arab nations in airstrikes against militants in Syria J. Scott Applewhite/AP

This prompted us to look back at how other recent presidents announced military attacks.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush launched the first war in Iraq, which had invaded Kuwait.

In 1998, President Clinton lobbed cruise missiles into Iraq. And sat alone on camera to tell us about it.

Three years later, Oct. 7, 2001, President George W. Bush announced we were at war in Afghanistan.

In 2003, the Oval Office was the scene again when Bush announced war in Iraq.

  • Robert Moffitt

    I don’t think FDR hung around to answer reporters questions the last time a President declared war officially, but things were different then.

    • I doubt FDR put himself in a position to look like he was running away from important questions. And I use “running away” as a figure of speech.

    • Nicholas Kraemer

      FDR did not have to hang around because he sat down and answered reporters’ questions twice a week, in the Oval Office. President Obama, on the other hand, seems to be imitatiing Coolidge and Hoover – “His predecessors Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover had required the questions be submitted in advance and answered only those they wished to.”
      Source: New York Times, http://100days.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/obama-fdr-and-taming-the-press/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

      • Robert Moffitt

        He’s becoming increasingly press shy, that’s for sure.

  • Gary F

    No teleprompters. When did he ditch those?

    • Get some new material.

      • Gary F

        How about ” ISIL Is not Islamic” That wasn’t funny, that was scary.

  • anony

    I choose to celebrate the fact that he’s attending a climate summit.

    • Do cruise missiles release greenhouse gasses?

      • Jack

        …the green house gas, the mustard gas, agent orange…it will be a colorful summit.

      • Gary F

        No, but MPR says climate change or global warming or whatever its called now is causing this whole ISIS or ISIL or Khardasian or whatever its called now thing. It was on last week on MPR.!

  • Maura

    In light of recent events, isn’t this saying Look How Safe I am on the White House Lawn?

    • Robert Moffitt

      It does explain why they closed off Penn. Ave. in front of the White House for a brief time today.

  • KTN

    At least he was wearing the correct color suit.

  • Gary F

    Think MPR or any of the local newsers will be at the Lake Street Bridge tomorrow to see what they think of the Nobel Peace Prize winner now?

    • Robert Moffitt

      I think you’ll find they still don’t like Teddy Roosevelt very much. Or did you mean Jimmy Carter?

  • Rich in Duluth

    With four significant wars in 23 years, and two of them lasting more than 10 years each, what’s the big deal anymore? Since we’re a war-like nation, no formalities are needed. War, it’s what we do.

    We’ve got a strong military industry and we have to use it, because that industry has such a huge influence over our government’s policies. Just look at the budget.