The price of indifference
Obama’s tap dance around reality leaves the fighting to the French
Barack Obama’s heart is just not in the fight against the enemies of the West. Why fight when you can make a speech, deliver a few remarks of empty rhetoric at photo-ops, and hope everything turns out all right. Fighting is so fatiguing. Bashing Republicans, George W. Bush and the Confederate flag is more fun.
The backlash against the irresolute president has forced his hand, and he answered his growing chorus of critics by dispatching American warplanes to bomb oil trucks taking ISIS gasoline to the black market. The war on oil trucks could have been dispatched earlier. The Pentagon knew about them months ago.
Satellite photographic reconnaissance as well as drones showed where and how oil was being moved to market, with the Turks, by the way, looking the other way as the trucks passed through their territory. Why was a strike against these trucking fleets not considered until now? Did the U.S. commanders prejudice the attacks by dropping leaflets alerting the drivers that the attacks were coming?
Mr. Obama decries his critics as “pop-offs,” and insists that he does, too, have a war strategy, a long-term plan to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. But it’s clear to everyone, if not to the president himself, that his strategy, whatever it is, is not working. As ISIS now turns its full attention to making war against targets in Europe and probably soon in America, the ghost strategy that no one can see endangers both the United States and the rest of the frightened world.
The Western alliance has forgotten that nothing succeeds like success, and success for ISIS is the destruction of civilian life through terrorist activity. So long as ISIS continues to make “progress” with terrorist attacks it will attract recruits. There are enough deranged and disoriented young men and women in the Islamic world to fill their ranks as quickly as the Western airstrikes deplete those ranks.
It’s difficult to assess how much support the terrorists have among the Islamic masses, but it’s no doubt considerable. When the crowd at a Turkish soccer match was asked to observe a moment’s silent reflection on the Paris massacre, the crowd responded with the jihadist battle cry: “Alah Akbar!” — “Allah is great!”
Several opinion polls, as well as fragments of interviews with ordinary Muslims by radio and television reporters, have shown widespread rationalizations for terrorist mayhem, if not necessarily sympathy, among Muslims in Belgium and France. Many of those were born and reared in Europe.
The task before the United States and the West is not only the elimination of ISIS and the end of the acts of terrorism, but to neutralize terrorist influence in the mosques and on the streets of the Middle East. ISIS has made fragile alliances with other terrorist groups in Libya, Central Africa and Indonesia. However tenuous those alliances, permitting them to recruit and spread their propaganda without challenge is a menace that must be dealt with soon. Demonstrating they have nothing to fear from a flaccid West and an irresolute leader is not the way to do that. Weakness attracts only buzzards.