Beheaded American Civilians and Presidential Indifference

No strategy in sight for the "junior varsity" Islamic State.

steven-sotloffA video, entitled “A Second Message to America,” was released on September 2nd purporting to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by an ISIS jihadistThe Obama administration could not immediately verify the authenticity of the video. 

Meanwhile, as strange as it may seem, ISIS itself decried the early release of the video “before the official time,” but did not deny responsibility for the barbaric act. Apparently, ISIS not only combines its medieval barbarism with 21st century social media technology, but also wants to time the marketing of its barbarism for maximum prime time effect.

Mr. Sotloff was reportedly executed in the same manner as the journalist James Foley was two weeks agoThe chilling voice in the video, which appeared to be same voice with a British accent that was heard on the video of Mr. Foley’s execution, uttered these taunting words directed at President Obama:

I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings and … on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warnings. You Obama, have but to gain from your actions but another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike out people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.

We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.

President Obama himself did not have any immediate comment. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, upon learning about the beheading while speaking to reporters at the daily White House press briefing, said that he was not then in a position to confirm the authenticity of the video, but said: “Our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Sotloff's family and those who worked with himThe United States, as you know, has dedicated significant time and resources to try and rescue Mr. Sotloff.”

Whether the Obama administration did everything it could to rescue Steven Sotloff and James Foley is in question. The White House is said to have delayed a decision on whether to launch a rescue operation for at least 30 days, according to a report in The Sunday Times of London. That could well have made the difference between success and failure.

State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the latest beheading video was genuine, “we are sickened by this brutal act.” However, she refused, in response to a question, to characterize Mr. Sotloff's execution as an act of war. “I don't think it's a useful exercise to go back and forth about new terms,” she remarked. “What's important is what we're doing about it.”

The Obama administration’s solution, Ms. Psaki said, was to create “an international coalition to address this threat.”

The question is why President Obama has waited this long to begin building the coalition, let alone take any effective action on his own as the leader of the free world. ISIS was identified by our intelligence and military services as a major threat months ago. Yet, as of last week, President Obama shockingly admitted that in dealing with ISIS in Syria "We don't have a strategy yet."

ISIS reconstituted itself and gathered strength in Syria before it re-emerged in Iraq and took over large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. Syria was in effect ground zero for key ISIS bases from which it launched its attacksObama was reportedly warned about the growing threat that ISIS posed months ago in great detail, but dismissed ISIS as a junior varsity team.  Obama made his flippant junior varsity remark last January in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, according to a former Pentagon official with knowledge of the daily intelligence briefings that were presented to the president.

As Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "I think it's a major varsity team. I see nothing that compares with its viciousness." Senator Feinstein added that she believed President Obama was being “too cautious” in dealing with the ISIS threat. That is the understatement of the year.

The former Pentagon official was quoted by Fox News as saying that "[we] were ready to fire, on a moment's notice, on a couple hundred targets.However, President Obama did not issue the order. Now it is more urgent than ever to do so without any further delaySaturation bombing, using drones, fighter planes and missiles, against all known ISIS locations wherever they are located – in Syria or Iraq – should not have to await the building of an “international” coalition.  Obama should for once lead from the front and not from behind.

Moreover, ISIS represents a clear and present danger not only to Americans and U.S. interests in the region where ISIS has taken control, but also to Americans right here at home. 

Some U.S. citizens and Western Europeans who do not need visas to enter the United States are believed to have joined the ISIS jihadists. These recruits are ready-made time bombs when and if they enter the United States after receiving their training fighting for the so-called Islamic State. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who, unlike President Obama, immediately cut short his vacation after the Foley video was released, is moving to thwart the return of British jihadists to his country after they have been in the Middle East fighting with ISIS. Prime Minister Cameron is also planning on strengthening the hand of the police in seizing the passports of individuals trying to join the ISIS jihadists.

To date, we have heard nothing from President Obama on taking comparable steps to prevent fifth columns of ISIS-trained operatives with U.S. or Western European passports from coming back after their ISIS experience to wage jihad here at home. State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Psaki refused to say whether passports belonging to Americans confirmed to be fighting with ISIS have been revoked, claiming "It's not as black and white as that.” Yes it is, if the president decided to use his executive powers as commander-in-chief for something constructive rather than abusing the executive order process to usurp Congress’s domestic legislative powers.

Even more ominously, ISIS has taken note of the porous border between the United States and Mexico. “A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of [the] US, for terror attack,” warns the Texas Department of Public Safety "situational awareness" bulletin, obtained by “Social media account holders believed to be ISIS militants and propagandists have called for unspecified border operations, or they have sought to raise awareness that illegal entry through Mexico is a viable option,” the bulletin stated, as quoted by Fox News.

Instead of taking steps to stop the inflow of illegal aliens across the southern border into the United States, the Obama administration has all but put out the welcome mat for more illegal aliens to enterBorder agents are overwhelmed. Without sufficient National Guard or other military resources monitoring vulnerable portions of the border, it is only a matter of time until ISIS infiltrators make their way into the United States and begin wreaking havoc.

When will President Obama stop treating ISIS as a junior varsity team and finally act like a senior varsity United States president himself in dealing with the ISIS threat? Not likely in time.

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