Obama Needs a Reality Check

ISIS_soldiers_hoisting_the_flagPerhaps the most unfortunate rhetorical moment in the presidency of George W. Bush was his now infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech. Delivered from the deck of an aircraft carrier on May 3, 2003, the President declared that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” As we all now well know, and liberals love to remind us, the Bush administration’s assessment of the scope of the challenges in Iraq was woefully short-sighted, and his declaration of victory a mere two months after the initiation of combat operations in Iraq was premature to say the least.

President Obama recently had his own “Mission Accomplished” moment. Speaking toABC‘s George Stephanopoulos last Thursday, the President said that the goal of containing ISIS had been achieved. Not 12 hours later, the world watched in shock and horror as ISIS conducted several coordinated attacks across Paris, killing 129 and wounding hundreds more.

However the Obama administration tries to spin the President’s words or parse his meaning, ISIS is clearly not contained in any way that matters. Not two weeks ago, they brought down a Russian airliner, killing hundreds. Now they are pouring out their murderous rage upon the capitals of Europe, and many feel it is only a matter of time before they bring their bloody terror to American shores. Obviously this was the last thing President Obama wanted to deal with during his tenure as leader of the free world. His Presidential legacy was supposed to include the cessation of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was going to close Guantanamo Bay and extend a hand of peace to Iran. He was going to be the humble peacemaker that set everything right again after eight years of warmongering by Bush and Cheney. The rise of ISIS and a rapidly escalating geopolitical crisis centered in Syria was not part of the plan.

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The Wall Street Journal chalks up the President’s persistence on this matter to ideological vanity. He sees the world a certain way and has his own theories about the causes of global strife. Anything that doesn’t affirm this ideological narrative is dismissed or denied. But the denial of a fact is not enough to negate its existence.  If one denies the existence of the law of gravity and proceeds to jump off a tall building, he will need an ambulance to carry him away. Even the sincerity of one’s firmly held belief is not enough to transform reality. If one drinks poison, sincerely believing it is medicine, he will still wake up dead.

For far too long, Mr. Obama has diminished the significance of the threat posed by ISIS. Convinced that Muslim radicals would be appeased by the President’s deferential tone and his constricted presence on the global stage, the President has struggled to confront fully the seriousness of ISIS’ declared mission. A group intent on establishing a new worldwide Islamic caliphate, a group systematically targeting Christians, a group enslaving women and brutally murdering children, the President dismissed as Al-Qaeda’s “JV team.”

This is, no doubt, because President Obama wants to believe that the world of the 21st century is not one in which religiously motivated zealots still exist. As a product of a secular intellectual environment, the President is much more comfortable discussing ISIS in terms of economic and cultural disenfranchisement. If we just gave the terrorists jobs, then they would be happy and this talk of caliphates and jihad would be unnecessary. If it were easier for Muslim immigrants to integrate into European society, there wouldn’t be this uprising against the West. The President is likely sincere in his beliefs, but as theJournal says it is time for Mr. Obama to have a “rendezvous with reality.”

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The undeniable evidence is that ISIS is a clear and present danger that poses a threat not only to the stability of the Middle East, but also to Western Civilization. It’s capacity is not confined to Syria and Iraq and their neighbors, nor is its ambitions. The goal is global domination in the name of Islam, and  if the attacks in Paris are any indicator, there is surely more to come. Mr. Obama must come to grips with the reality of radical Islamic terrorism. Drawing clumsy parallels with the Christian Crusades of the Middle Ages will not solve the problem. Christians are not the one’s slaughtering children and beheading hostages. They aren’t shooting up soccer stadiums and concert halls and cafes. Muslim extremists are doing these things. Today. In 2015. Now is not the time for lectures on glass houses. Mr. Obama must acknowledge the existential threat that  radical Islam poses to the American people, and this reality should affect his decision making in the military arena, in the immigration arena, in the diplomatic arena, and in virtually every area in which Presidential decision making occurs.

Mr. Obama must set aside ideology and confront reality. The fantasy world that he sees through the lens of his ideological vanity is going to result in more bloodshed, quite possibly here within our own borders.  It’s time for the President to confront the world as it is, not as he wishes it to be. Radical Islam has declared war on the civilized world. Does the President have the chutzpah to wage war against radical Islam?

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Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty.” He is also the Distinguished Fellow in Law and Human Dignity at the John Jay Institute’s Center for a Just Society.
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  • DCM7

    Obama makes the same idealistic mistake made by, say, some who tried to deal with Hitler: Assuming an enemy will conveniently be content with peace and “live and let live,” when in fact they’re bent on domination and will not be appeased.