Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Obama began his speech with a cover-up, suggesting that Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik’s bloody San Bernardino massacre was not the work of ISIS.
Whatever dignity his Oval Office speech was meant to convey was lost in his opening sentences as his speech became yet another effort to claim that he hadn’t made a mistake by assuring Americans they had nothing to worry about from ISIS right before its latest terror attack.
Farook and Malik were “self-radicalized”. Their attack was not part of a “broader conspiracy”. But ISIS and Al Qaeda have both embraced a strategy of empowering local supporters to carry out their own attacks by giving them the tools and strategies to do so. Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS. Farook, according to his father, was a supporter of the Islamic State. The worst terror attacks in America in recent years were carried out by these independent Islamic terror cells in support of the Jihad.
These so-called “lone wolf” attacks are part of the broader ISIS and Al Qaeda conspiracy.
Instead of leading the fight against ISIS, Obama is making excuses for his latest failures while trying to once again minimize the threat of the global terror group that he had once described as a JV team.
Back in September, Obama’s strategy for defeating ISIS was, and I quote, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”
For months we have been hearing that the dog had eaten Obama’s ISIS strategy. It was coming. It was in the mail. It was going to be here soon. It was going to arrive one of these days.
Now, after the latest ISIS terror attack, Obama has finally unveiled his strategy. It consists of doing the same things he’s been doing all along while claiming that he was right all along.
For Obama, success means doubling down on failure.
His plan for defeating ISIS is more fake air strikes, more weapons for terrorists, more empty talk of coalitions and a plea for Putin to bail him out. That last part is somewhat new. That’s about it.
American soldiers will go on fighting ISIS on the ground, but according to Obama it’s not a violation of his pledge that there will be no “boots on the ground” unless it’s a brigade. Weapons will go on being passed out to terrorists even though they’ve found their way to Al Qaeda and ISIS before.
At home, he’ll be relying on the same old Muslim Brotherhood community policing policies that have crippled law enforcement’s ability to intercept plots by Islamic terrorists using informants.
Obama concedes that, “an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities”, but claims that Farook and Malik were only “embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West.” As opposed to the regular form of Islam which calls for the same thing.
ISIS, he tells Americans, is a “cult of death” that does not speak for Islam and “millions of patriotic Muslim-Americans… reject their hateful ideology”. Would these be the Muslims who allow Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR and ISNA with terrorist ties, to speak for them?
But did anyone really expect anything different from Obama?
The media was hoping for an inspirational speech, but Obama ran out of inspiration about the same time that Americans ran out of jobs and hope for the future. All that’s left is narcissistic preening.
We’ve been getting variations of this passive aggressive speech for years now in which Obama condescendingly informs the nation that he knows what he’s doing and isn’t about to change a thing, and then issues some random demands to Congress to try and pass the responsibility to someone else.
All the tired old clichés are here. Anyone who wants to take on ISIS is just “giving it what it wants”. Because apparently what the Islamic State really, really wants is for us to crack down on terrorists.
Anyone who disagrees with Obama is “giving into fear” or “abandoning our values”. And yet it’s Obama who demands that we give in to fear by compromising the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Obama insists that any profiling of Muslims would be “abandoning our values”, but that rolling back the Second Amendment for the entire country somehow isn’t a fearful abandonment of our values.
He claims that a crackdown on terrorists would be “giving into fear”, but creating a class of people who are denied their Second Amendment rights because their names appear on a no-fly list wouldn’t be.
Obama’s solution to ISIS terror at home isn’t to target Islamic terrorists, but to roll back the Bill of Rights for the entire country or select sections of it who, like Ted Kennedy, wind up on the no-fly list.
But would Obama be open to deporting non-citizens who appear on the no-fly list? Don’t bet on it. The people on it are too dangerous to be allowed to buy guns, but not too dangerous to stay in America.
The former isn’t “giving into fear” or “abandoning our values”. Only the latter is.
Instead of fighting ISIS, Obama wants to fight the Bill of Rights. Instead of targeting Islamic terrorists, he’s still going after Americans who cling to their guns and bibles. When he says, “freedom is more powerful than fear”, his own words and actions show that he does not mean it. He’s just selling fear of the NRA, instead of fear of Islamic terrorists.
Obama triples down on bringing tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim migrants, 13% of whom poll as supporting ISIS, to America. He insists once again, falsely, that “It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country.” We actually have religious tests to determine who is being persecuted and who isn’t a genuine refugee. In Syria, that’s Christians and Yazidis.
But Obama instead took in 98% Sunni Muslims, 53 Christians and 1 single Yazidi. That’s a “religious test” too. He just refuses to admit it.
Obama continues to troll Congress with demands for a new AUMF against ISIS. Secretary of State Kerry had already told the Senate, “The President already has statuary authority to act against ISIL.” The original 9⁄11 authorization for the use of military force still holds. Obama doesn’t need a new AUMF. For that matter he fought a war in Libya without the faintest shred of Congressional authorization.
So why does he keep mentioning a new AUMF? To shift responsibility for his inaction to Congress.
Obama is so “confident” in his ISIS strategy that he keeps trying to blame it on Congress. Even when Congress has nothing to do with it.
There is no plan here for beating ISIS. No plan for stopping the next ISIS terror attack.
Instead all Obama has to offer are false claims of success, a strategy that is more of the same, attempts to shift the blame for his “successful” strategy and a carefully curated selection of the same old lies.
ISIS has new tactics on tap. Obama doesn’t. All he has is the same old claim that he is on the “right side of history.” What is the “right side of history”? It’s the side that refuses to learn anything from history because it is convinced that the past is irrelevant and its success is inevitable.
ISIS thinks the same way.
The tragedy is that both the Islamic State and the United States are led by narrow-minded fanatics who are leading their peoples to disaster in an attempt to create a utopia through abuse of power and lies.
If Obama ever wants to figure out how to really defeat ISIS, he can start by trying to figure out how he would defeat himself.