It’s been some time since President Barrack Hussein Obama labeled ISIS a “jayvee team,” but his choice of words remains as telling as the day he spoke them. A man who gives every indication of caring more about the NBA playoffs than the contest with a terrorist, renegade state might well prefer the lingo of the sports page to that of stern national policy.
Allowing that, let’s admit Obama can get serious about foreign affairs from time to time, but it takes real motivation. Take his second press conference following the Orlando attack in which the irate commander-in-chief fumed about Donald Trump’s “Tweet” about his inability to use the expression “radical Islamic terrorism.” The presumptive Republican nominee mused mercurially, in signature fashion, about the motives behind the president’s hesitancy. “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable.”
For a man such as Obama, that was tantamount to throwing down the gauntlet. His press conferences in response to this year’s string of terrorist attacks—Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, and even the first press conference after Orlando—were all marked by a laconic or, perhaps more accurately, lackadaisical demeanor, suggesting that the twentieth century’s greatest orator really wanted to be miles away—at a Cuban baseball game, tangoing in Argentina, smoking Camels behind the barn, anywhere but where he was. It’s not farfetched to imagine that he would have been even blander if the latest terrorist atrocity, the deadliest in American history, had happened in a “straight” club with the weapon of choice a homemade bomb instead of an “assault” rifle.
Let’s face it, gays and guns are fightin’ words to the Left, but for Obama, it takes something really big to get his dander up.
The something was the personal insult, and in a trice Obama was on the air at his defensive, petulant best: a president taking on the would-be president, one narcissist against another. He appeared in typical Obama fashion: the pursed lips, the clipped cadences, the straw men so easily disposed of (“Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”), the lame attempts at wit (oh, those “Tweets”). And all of it to paper over what ought to be crystal clear, that the current administration has from its inception shied away from the words “terrorist” and “terrorism,” substituting “violent extremism” or “man-caused disasters,” Newspeak in a New Age of sham policy.
We should all be aware that the executive is only in part a matter of commanding the armed forces, but, by the same token, we must not forget this fact: our country is under attack, albeit by unorthodox means, “a new war for a new century,” as Harry Morant put it in Bruce Beresford’s great film “Breaker Morant.” Has the fact dawned on the American people yet? Not if “our” president is any indication of the national mood. The commander-in-chief has botched the destruction of ISIS from the start with half-hearted bombing raids; leaflets warning “non-combatant” truck drivers (Driving trucks of what? Horse manure?) to keep out of harm’s way; false claims ISIS’s impending collapse; and, above all, a cynical conviction that the American people are too war-weary to care about what’s happening amid the sand dunes far far away.
Perhaps, with respect to the weariness of Americans, Obama and his minions are right. But if we are near exhaustion, it’s a sure bet we’ll grow even wearier of stale rhetoric and feckless leaders as the attacks continue. If we are to avoid a bunker mentality—not sand bunkers on a golf course but the real thing—we’ll need men of stern resolve who know that the harsh fact of total war is not just an option anymore but a necessity.
Does anyone really believe we lack the power to sweep ISIS off the face of the earth? To be sure, a project of that scope would take first-rate intelligence, firm diplomacy (especially with Syria and possibly Russia), expert appreciation of logistics, and a willingness to launch an attack with the greatest force at our disposal, something Bush did not do in his initial Iraq campaign.
And we need something else: statesmen who will rally the people to the cause, clarifying the nature of a crisis that is not simply a matter of current affairs, but one that is centuries old with an enemy that seeks nothing less than the destruction of the Christian West and the subjection of the world to sharia. The means ISIS, Hamas, and Al-Qaida use are only new only in part, in their use of modern weapons and of the internet as a tool of recruitment; otherwise, the methods of terror, barbarism, and ruthlessness are old as the hills.
Barrack Obama and Donald Trump are not the men to confront this crisis and see it to a just conclusion; the former lacks will and the latter lacks judgment. Hillary Clinton has already proven suspect in her misdirection of policy in Libya and Syria during her tenure at State. Success, then, will depend on a few men in Congress, notably senators such as Tom Cotton and, if he chooses to run for re-election, Marco Rubio, to make a cogent, compelling case for quick and total victory over our enemies.
But to do any of that, we must first look directly at Muslim terrorists and see them for what they are, something the president has refused to do for the last seven years.