Fighting Words - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Fighting Words

What should we make of the summer soldier/sunshine patriot who sits in the White House and acts both as commander in chief and golfer in chief — never allowing the former to get in the way of the latter? Will he shrink from the crisis presented by the explosive and horrific growth of the Islamic jihad movement, or will he somehow transform himself into someone capable of leading the nation and the free world in a time of war?

If only rhetorically and if only for a few news cycles, Barack Obama moved from flight to fight in his speech on Wednesday night. He stopped doing everything he could to appease a deadly and implacable enemy, and even to deny its very existence. At great long last, he acknowledged the need to confront and destroy this sadistic and monstrous foe.

In his speech on Wednesday, there was no resounding Churchillian language; no “we shall go on to the end” defiance or resolution; no promise to fight on the beaches and landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets; no solemn “never to surrender” pledge. More worrisome, there were plenty of the usual equivocations and weasel words that one expects from Mr. Obama.

Early on, he made the astounding claim that “America is safer” today than it was at the beginning of his presidency, and he went on from there to say: 

Now let’s make two things clear. ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents… And ISIL is certainly not a state… It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple.

Wrong on both counts!

To say that ISIL — also known as ISIS or the Islamic State — is not Islamic is the grossest nonsense. Under Mohammed, Islam began as a religion of conquest. A commitment to wage jihad or holy war and to “smite the necks” of unbelievers has been part of Islam from the earliest days. In the 100 years following Mohammed’s death in AD 632, when Islam was still confined to the Arabian peninsula, Arab armies spread the faith as far west as Spain and as far east as northern India and the frontier of China. Today’s radical Islamists want nothing less than world domination, or — if that fails — lighting the nuclear fuse of global destruction. Why not, since their own destruction or martyrdom brings with it the promise of eternal salvation?

To insist that ISIS (or whatever you want to call it) is not a state is equally foolish. It ignores the following facts: that ISIS currently controls cities and towns spread out over more territory than all of Great Britain; that it has its own army and is clearly capable of conquering other states in the region; and that it has a functioning government with an adequate stream of revenues (through the export of oil, the imposition of taxes or theft from those it conquers, and gifts from fearful and wealthy donors such as Qatar) to go on functioning as a state for a long time to come.

What’s more, to say, as Mr. Obama does, that ISIS is not a state because it does not have the consent of the governed is beyond laughable. By that measure, the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin was not a state and communist China under Mao was not a state. So too all but a relatively few countries since the invention of the nation state would fail to pass the test of statehood.

Of course, this is not the first time that the president has used his own special brand of semantics as a magical device in making reality conform to wishful thinking… and to detract attention from clear evidence that his policies had turned into failures.

He pulled the same semantic trick in winning re-election in 2012. In defining down the ever-expanding and ever more ambitious jihadist enemy to nothing more than Osama bin Laden, his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri, and their immediate supporters, the president got away with saying that al Qaeda was “on the run” and “tide of war is receding.”

More amazingly still, he and his administration (prominently including Hillary Clinton) got away with spending days and even weeks of spreading the lie that the attack on the consulate in Benghazi — which claimed the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans — was something other than a deliberate and well-coordinated jihadist terrorist attack.

The same pattern of willful ignorance — alloyed with the rankest political expediency — continues into the present. Just three weeks ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice had opened a “criminal investigation” into ISIS’s beheading of the American journalist James Foley — which it (ISIS) then documented through an Internet video calculated to send shivers down the spine of anyone who dares to do anything serious to oppose it — like declaring all-out war against this incipient evil empire.

Well, thanks go to Mr. Holder (and Mr. Obama), for once again doing the easy, expedient and altogether the wrong thing. As Michelle Malkin’s partner and fellow columnist Doug Powers commented on August 21: 

Let this send a message to terrorists who brutally murder Americans: The U.S. Justice Dept. will find you, fly you back to America, supply you with a taxpayer-funded attorney, and put you on trial in a Manhattan civilian court.

Holder and Obama, in other words, will go to almost any extreme to avoid having to admit that you — who have the ultimate objective of toppling America after doing away with other lesser states — are not at war with us. No, no, no — you are a run-of-the-mill murderer — like the guy who shoots and kills a storeowner in a botched robbery.

Having said all this, I still hope that newly roused public opinion in favoring strong action against the great menace of our time will implant an artificial spine in the backs of the president and many of his progressive supporters, who previously applauded his many assertions that the U.S. had grown too strong and too arrogant.

We are in a war that we cannot afford to lose.

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