When America was attacked on 9/11 the world and NATO rallied to our defense. Now that France has been attacked by Islamist terrorists, the American president has gone AWOL.
Yesterday, French president Francois Hollande called for the United States and Russia to join him in attacking Islamic terrorists and ISIS in particular. Barack Obama has provided some logistical support, but beyond paying lip service to the horrors that befell Paris, the president was more concerned about himself than about any war on terrorism.
In a press conference in Antalya, Turkey Obama was alternately petulant and defensive. With the blood not yet dry in Paris, he declared that the massacre was merely a setback. He explained that his brilliant strategy was working and would ultimately succeed. He rejected calls for greater military activity by declaring that he refused to put American troops back into the Middle East. Naturally, he ignored the fact that the primary instigator of the rise of ISIS was his withdrawal of American troops in 2011.
Obama’s press conference was so bad, so tone deaf, so filled with narcissistic self-congratulations, so completely lacking in any sense of responsibility for the chaos that has engulfed large parts of the Middle East and is now being exported to Europe that even the press turned against him.
Ron Allen from NBC—yes, NBC—asked this question:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I think a lot of people around the world and in America are concerned because given the strategy that you’re pursuing -- and it’s been more than a year now -- ISIS’s capabilities seem to be expanding. Were you aware that they had the capability of pulling off the kind of attack that they did in Paris? Are you concerned? And do you think they have that same capability to strike in the United States?
And do you think that given all you’ve learned about ISIS over the past year or so, and given all the criticism about your underestimating them, do you think you really understand this enemy well enough to defeat them and to protect the homeland?
Needless to say the inveterate and incurable Obamaphiles continue to defend the president. Among them Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast. They understand that Obama just wants to leave office before something really bad happens.
Allen was being very generous in saying that Obama had a strategy to defeat ISIS. In truth, Obama has a strategy to look as though he is doing something. In effect, he is doing next to nothing. It is all PR, all the time.
In his press conference Obama defended his weakness by declaring that the only choice was between doing nothing and appearing to be tough. One understands that the other option, actually being tough, being resolute, being firm, being decisive like the president of France… escapes him.
But what we do not do, what I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make America look tough, or make me look tough.
As for the chance that he will provide American leadership or even of victory over ISIS, Obama dismissed it out of hand:
But what I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people, and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France. I'm too busy for that.
Leadership and winning are now slogans. One wonders if Obama knows who he is and what his role is.
Of course, Obama continues to reject the idea that Islamist terrorism has anything to do with Islam. The braindead left has suggested that this is a clever strategy for recruiting Muslims to the anti-terrorist cause. If so, it has failed miserably.
The truth is, Obama’s craven submission to Islam tells Muslims around the world that the terrorists are stronger. The rise of ISIS has greatly increased recruitment of terrorists from the Middle East and Europe. If Obama thinks that by not naming it for what it is he is making Muslims more likely to join the fight against Islamist terrorism, he is delusional.
Like it or not, ISIS is the face of Islam today. It monopolizes media coverage of Muslims; it throws the religion and all of its adherents into disrepute; it defines the religion in a way that the rest of the world’s Muslims, large numbers of whom support it, cannot.
Obama does not understand that reputation is shared by groups. If members of a group you belong to become a criminal conspiracy your group’s reputation suffers. If someone in your family becomes a notorious criminal, your reputation suffers.
When this happens you will feel ashamed. You will make every effort to denounce and separate yourself from the criminal element. If someone tells you that the actions of those people do not reflect on you he is telling you that you need not do anything to destroy it. When Obama tells the world’s Muslims that their religion has nothing to do with ISIS, he is telling them that they need not do anything to crush it. Considering the danger any Muslim would be risking by trying to take on ISIS, Obama’s message can only cause other Muslims to withdraw from the fight.
Besides, Obama’s inconstant and feckless conduct of Middle East policy has alienated Muslim nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Evidently, they do not want to take the risk of marching behind an unreliable leader who has no idea what he is doing, does not want to lead and does not care about winning.
Here the words of our president:
And so to the degree that anyone would equate the terrible actions that took place in Paris with the views of Islam, those kinds of stereotypes are counterproductive. They’re wrong. They will lead, I think, to greater recruitment into terrorist organizations over time if this becomes somehow defined as a Muslim problem as opposed to a terrorist problem.
Now, what is also true is, is that the most vicious terrorist organizations at the moment are ones that claim to be speaking on behalf of true Muslims. And I do think that Muslims around the world -- religious leaders, political leaders, ordinary people -- have to ask very serious questions about how did these extremist ideologies take root, even if it’s only affecting a very small fraction of the population. It is real and it is dangerous. And it has built up over time, and with social media it has now accelerated.
Obama also declared that no one else has a strategy. In fact, many other people have strategies for defeating ISIS. Obama is simply defending his policy by setting up a straw man and pretending that his non-strategy is better than the straw man.
If you are looking for a strategy you need look no further than the words of Peter Quinn. As you know, Quinn is a character in the Showtime series Homeland. From a recent episode, here’s Quinn’s take on ISIS. One notes that Homeland has an Israeli provenance, so Quinn’s words probably represent Israeli opinion.
After all, Israelis have the most experience dealing with Islamist terrorism. One ought to pay heed to their views. Since Obama has always acted as though Israel is the problem, not the solution, one understands that the Israelis cannot say this out loud.
Katie Hopkins sums it up in the Daily Mail:
Because here's the rub. Any man shouting Allahu Akbar as he blows himself to paradise is an adherent of the same religion and scriptures children are forced to learn, repeat and regurgitate by Muslims clerics the world over.
Or, as Peter Quinn, the CIA hitman from Homeland, put it in a remarkably prescient episode from the current series broadcast six weeks ago: '(ISIS) has a clear strategy. A strategy which includes beheadings, crucifixions, and the revival of slavery, and it all derives from their f*cking book, the only book they ever read.'
Hopkins then offers the full transcript of Quinn’s remarks:
CIA official: You said a program should be renewed. I'm asking is our strategy working?
Peter Quinn: What strategy? Tell me what the strategy is and I'll tell you if it's working. [Silence] See, that right there is the problem because they - they have a strategy. They're gathering right now in Raqqa by the tens of thousands, hidden in the civilian population, cleaning their weapons and they know exactly why they're there.
CIA official: Why is that?
Peter Quinn: They call it the end times. What do you think the be-headings are about? The crucifixions in Deir Hafer, the revival of slavery? Do you think they make this s*** up? It's all in the book. Their f****** book. The only book they ever read - they read it all the time. They never stop. They're there for one reason and one reason only: to die for the Caliphate and usher in a world without infidels. That's their strategy and it's been that way since the seventh century. So do you really think that a few special forces teams are going to put a dent in that?
CIA official: Well what would you do?
Peter Quinn: Are you offering me a promotion?
CIA official: I'm offering you a hypothetical.
Peter Quinn: Two-hundred thousand American troops on the ground indefinitely to provide security and support for an equal number of doctors and elementary school teachers.
CIA official: Well that's not going to happen.
Peter Quinn: Then I better get back there.
CIA official: What else? What else would make a difference?
Peter Quinn: Hit reset.
CIA official: Meaning what?
Peter Quinn: Meaning pound Raqqa (ISIS’s stronghold) into a parking lot.
Before the fact, it’s the best response to President Obama’s press conference.