Last week, I detailed the conflicting signals and statements to which Americans were being exposed by the press and government officials relative to the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS). This week, the news cycle has been dominated by the Obama administration’s unfathomable lack of resolve with respect to ISIS, particularly the president’s laconic admission last week that the White House did not have a strategy to combat the terror group.
One of the criticisms the administration has faced is the president having been highly dismissive of ISIS, at one point calling them the “JV team” among terrorist groups. Outrage on the part of Americans and world leaders came to a head on Aug. 19 when American journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS. Video footage of the murder was widely distributed by the group.
Then, on Sept. 2, new video was released by ISIS; Steven Sotloff, an American journalist being held by the terror group since last year, was shown being beheaded by a black-robed militant. As in response to nearly all of the disturbing advances, threats and atrocities concerning Islamic terrorists, once again, Obama’s response was as tepid as ever.
As worldwide concern over ISIS has grown, experts and world leaders have admonished one another as well as America that ISIS is currently the greatest threat to peace globally, and possibly one of the greatest threats to peace the world has ever seen. This week, the British government raised the country’s terror threat level to “Severe,” the second-highest of five potential levels. In a speech to the British House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron proposed sweeping new anti-terror legislation to mitigate the threat to Britain from ISIS.
Now we have learned (as reported Tuesday by Fox News) that President Obama was given “detailed and specific intelligence” about the rise of ISIS as part of his daily briefing for at least a year before the group seized vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq this summer.
According to the Fox News source, there was no mistaking the signals, or the fact that the threat posed by ISIS was building toward that which we are now witnessing.
To add insult to injury, after this latest atrocity, Americans were treated to Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s mealymouthed claims that ISIS is a group the administration had been “looking at for a long time” and State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki’s reluctance to “put any labels” on Steve Sotloff’s beheading.
This would be comical if not for the real human suffering involved.
Republican lawmakers and assorted conservative pundits continue to refer to President Obama as “disengaged,” “ineffectual,” or “in denial,” and California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently deemed him possibly “too cautious” regarding ISIS. These lukewarm estimations and face-saving maneuvers have become tedious.
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