This morning I posed this thought to my Redstate colleagues: In the past 13 years, I can’t recall feeling quite this way on this day. I can’t watch the news coverage. I feel disturbed somehow. I think maybe it’s because this year, more than any other, I feel like if something like that happens again, Barack Obama and the cast of incompetent boobs that surround him would be utterly unprepared to respond. I find it downright frightening.
After some reflection, I came to the conclusion (one that should have been obvious) that the reason is because the world is a profoundly more dangerous one this year. And the reason for that is the complete lack of leadership from the President and his administration. He has dithered and the world falls apart. His lack of a strategy, his blase disregard for world affairs in deference to his golf game, his preference for a perpetual campaign rather than doing the job of President has set the nation on edge.
On the politicking front, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar zeroes in on part of the problem:
On foreign policy, the president for far too long dismissed the threat ISIS posed in the face of glaring warnings from his own advisers. While leading Cabinet secretaries, from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Attorney General Eric Holder, described ISIS as an “imminent threat” and “more frightening than anything,” Obama’s public tone was much more measured, even recently suggesting that containment of the jihadist group was an option. To this day, he still insists on ruling out ground troops, even as he struggles to explain how we can defeat the terrorist group’s base in Syria without a greater American military presence. And many military experts are also puzzled why Obama is publicly telegraphing his strategy when it doesn’t serve America’s interests.
But to understand the disconnect between Obama and his advisers, you have to understand how politics drives so much of the administration’s decision-making. Obama’s passive public posture was a direct response to the public’s longstanding war weariness, and his insistence on a limited American military role in the fight is in reaction to what the polls still show today. For months, even as ISIS made territorial gains across Iraq, the public continued to oppose any military action there. It wasn’t until the gruesome beheading of two American journalists that opinion on military intervention began to shift markedly.
Support for airstrikes in Syria has now more than doubled in the past year, with a whopping 71 percent supporting military action in Iraq. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans now view ISIS as a serious threat to American interests, with 59 percent viewing it as “very serious.” So the president has belatedly followed suit, and is now delivering a prime-time address Wednesday evening to outline a strategy. Such an address could have been delivered months ago, when the terrorist threat was first metastasizing and when he could have helped mobilize public opinion to the cause. The much-mocked phrase “leading from behind” isn’t really accurate; for the Obama administration, it’s leading where the public opinion of the moment takes them.
He isn’t a president. He’s a campaigner. He’s more concerned with public opinion than public safety. He broadcasts his military plans to our enemies in prime time. He is utterly clueless. It’s no wonder that the public is much more interested in what Dick Cheney thinks than ever before:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s re-emergence in Washington this week to talk about fighting terrorists in Iraq must have seemed like a bad nightmare for President Obama, who is trying to make a case to skittish voters that the U.S. can expand its military action in the Middle East without repeating the mistakes of his predecessor’s war on terror.
For Mr. Obama and his allies on Capitol Hill, the specter of Mr. Cheney and his boss, President George W. Bush, continues to hang over them as they try to grapple with the ascendent insurgents of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.
For a president who won office on promises of ending wars and on not being Mr. Bush, it’s a tricky sell, and former Bush administration officials have watched with bemusement.
“Once again President Obama’s campaign rhetoric has smacked into reality. Foreign policy is more complicated than simply being against whatever George Bush was for,” said Matthew Latimer, a former speechwriter for Mr. Bush who now runs Javelin, a communications firm. “Ironically, the president’s efforts to be ‘anybody but Bush‘ may well have led the administration to create a situation in the Middle East that requires a Bush-like solution.”
The irony is the public may be warming to a Bush-like solution.
The public wants a “Bush-like solution” because George W. Bush understood what it takes to protect the nation. Barack Obama is only interested in what it takes to solve his slice.
But a more disconcerting aspect of it all, and one of the key reasons that I find myself uneasy with the current situation with ISIS and Obama’s inability to deal with it, is his overarching worldview about our enemies. Yesterday, Monica Crowley provided us with a well-deserved fisking of then-Senator Barack Obama’s day-after response to the 9/11 attacks:
On that day, an unknown and undistinguished state senator from Illinois published an article in a nondescript Chicago-area publication, The Hyde Park Herald. He began his piece with a call for heightened airport security, more effective intelligence operations and a “dismantling” of the organizations established by the “perpetrators.”
Then he let loose with his deeply-rooted leftist philosophy:
“We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness.”
[Not difficult at all: the source is totalitarian Islam.]
“The essence of this tragedy” [it was a personal tragedy for those who lost loved ones; but for the nation, it was an act of war] “it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others.” [They were jihadists, driven by their clearly articulated faith to kill the infidel, not “empathize” with them.]
“Such a failure of empathy,” he continued, “such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”
[As though we should have responded to the attacks by airlifting food stamps and subsidized housing to al Qaeda. More to the point: most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were middle- to upper-middle class and highly educated, not exactly the poor, desperate masses to whom he refers. Those who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks weren’t “ignorant.” They were jihadis.]
Mr. Obama went on to counsel patience and warn against overreacting: “We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe — children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.”
As always with Barack Obama, his problem isn’t just his tactics. It is his overall worldview and belief system. He does not accept the concept that radical Islam is a problem. He instead attempts to empathize with terrorists. His “warning against overreacting” should have been a warning signal that Barack Obama does not have the courage to confront an enemy of the United States. He is more interested in bigotry than terror. His interest is in furthering Leftist philosophical causes, not protecting this nation from the enemy.
But Bill, you ask, why would you not trust the President? After all, he has laid out a FOUR POINT STRATEGY!! Yes, he has. And streiff has systematically dismantled it. At the PJMedia site, Bryan Preston also illustrates why Obama and his “strategy” cannot be taken seriously:
“ISIL is not Islamic,” Obama claimed, despite the long history of Islamic terrorism and the fact that the first I in the name stands for “Islamic.”
Strange claim, that. ISIL ultimately derives its ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps they’re not Islamic too.
Stranger still, Obama touted Somalia and Yemen as models for the action to destroy IS. Somalia is a chaotic failed state, where the occasional droning of a terrorist leader seldom makes much strategic difference. Yemen is a longstanding haven of al Qaeda’s, where also, the occasional droning makes some, but not a great deal, of strategic difference.
Not. Islamic. This, from the President? And he invokes two failed nations as “models of success”. This is a fundamentally un-serious person who cannot be trusted.
And this is why this September 11th is different. We are again faced with an existential threat to our nation: ISIS. And our “President”, the so-called “leader of the free world” is not interested in and cannot be trusted to keep our world free. He is more interested in whether his decisions might cost the Democrats votes in the November election than whether thousands of lives are at stake and in whether we might hurt the feelings of the poor, suffering Islamist terrorists. He dithers while the nation’s concerns about the terror threat are at a post-9/11 high. Why? Because no one trusts him to do the right thing to protect us.
That is why I am more fearful this year than any since 9/11/2001. Our President is a fool and a danger to the world.