The Disconnect Between President Obama and President Obama on ISIS


President Obama is now asking Congress for authority to declare war on ISIS – the Islamic State – something ISIS declared on America more than two years ago.

Putting aside the debate of whether he actually needs congressional authority to continue to take the fight to this terrorist army or whether what he is requesting being authorized to do is sufficient, there is a vast conflict and contrast emerging within President Obama’s “strategy.”

In the wake of American humanitarian Kayla Muller’s heinous murder at the hands of ISIS jihadists, President Obama stated that we need to “find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”

This young American woman’s death is not the result of a random act of violence on the streets of Chicago.  She was targeted and murdered as part of ISIS’s jihadist propaganda campaign and overt war on America.  We should not confront her murders in court but on the battlefield.

We are at war (or at least they are with us) with a radical jihadist army.  No longer are we fighting small terror cells, but an army with tens of thousands of well equipped, well-funded radical Islamic soldiers.

Yet the Obama Administration refuses to name this enemy, refuses to call them radical Islamists or jihadists.  Instead President Obama refers to them merely as “violent extremists.”  He stated that the jihadist terrorist attack on a Jewish delicatessen in Paris last month was a “random” act.  He’s even doubled down on the ludicrous notion that climate change is a more clear and present danger to Americans and the world than the threat of radical Islamic armies like ISIS.

Yet days later, President Obama is telling Congress that ISIS poses a “grave threat” to America, Christians and women in their path, and our allies throughout the world.

In short, President Obama is in direct conflict with … President Obama.  On the one hand, he says that the media is overinflating the danger posed by ISIS, but on the other hand, his actual message to Congress is stark:

  • “ISIL holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria and has stated its intention to seize more territory and demonstrated the capability to do so;
  • “ISIL leaders have stated that they intend to conduct terrorist attacks internationally, including against the United States, its citizens, and interests;
  • “ISIL has committed despicable acts of violence and mass executions against Muslims, regardless of sect, who do not subscribe to ISIL’s depraved, violent, and oppressive ideology;
  • “ISIL has threatened genocide and committed vicious acts of violence against religious and ethnic minority groups, including Iraqi Christian, Yezidi, and Turkmen populations;
  • “ISIL has targeted innocent women and girls with horrific acts of violence, including abduction, enslavement, torture, rape, and forced marriage;
  • “ISIL is responsible for the deaths of innocent United States citizens, including James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller;”

And President Obama reiterated the need to “degrade and defeat” ISIS.

The disconnect is staggering, and it shows the chaotic and disjointed nature of President Obama’s strategy.

The fact remains, despite whatever President Obama might say next, that ISIS is a “grave threat.”  This radical Islamic army will only respond to one thing, force.  It cannot be confronted in a courtroom.  It is not “random.”  It is calculated in its barbaric atrocities.  It cannot be merely degraded.  It must be destroyed.

President Obama’s preferred narrative for the Middle East, his feigned ignorance about the existential nature of this threat, and his disjointed “strategy” is cracking.

It’s time for the President to adopt a new strategy: destroy ISIS.

Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.

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