There was much discussion, and a good deal of disappointment expressed about the president's reaction to the murder of journalist Jim Foley by ISIS terrorists, and all I could do was wonder where these people have been. What were people expecting? In truth I was a bit surprised that Obama took time away from his golf game to address it at all, though his comments amounted to little more than a description of how mean and nasty ISIS is.
Obama has demonstrated time and again his lack of concern for Islamists generally. He has legitimized their hatred for the West, has attributed moral equivalence to one Islamist entity after another, including even Hamas in the current war with Israel. He has withdrawn our troops from Iraq, and from Afghanistan, and has taken deploying troops in Iraq to deal with ISIS off the table.
It's difficult to imagine what more our president could have done in the name of appeasing ISIS and their satellites, and the result of this appeasement has been the evolution of a terrorist nightmare with a more-than-respectable military. ISIS does pose a legitimate threat to the US and our interests, one worthy of being taken seriously - seriously enough, in fact, that NOTHING should be taken off the table.
Obama and others point out that we are war-weary, and cite polls indicating that Americans oppose further involvement in ground wars. I don't doubt that both are correct. However, leadership sometimes calls for standing against public opinion, for broaching hard truths. But Obama has attacked American responses to Islamist aggression for so long (his attacks on Bush were scathing and unending) that it may be impossible for him to even dramatically alter his rhetoric, let alone policy.
Still, it is possible that ISIS has done the world an invaluable service. It may have demonstrated such barbarous behavior that even the most reluctant among us will have their eyes opened to the truth that no appeasement will ever affect Islamists efforts to kill Americans, Christians, Jews, Westerners. Perhaps Obama can give this some thought after he finishes the back nine.