isis mashupWhen Obama took a break from golfing to make a statement on the ritual slaughter of photojournalist James Foley by ISIS/ISIL he included this line:

They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision, and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.

This formula was expanded upon at the Thursday press briefing held at the State Department. State was ably represented by spokeswoman Marie Harf so gibberish ensued:

QUESTION: The reason I am asking you this question because you are mentioning Mount Sinjar and Erbil and all these things, but the real issue now is becoming different. I mean, even they are announcing ISIL people in their message, whatever the recorded messages and other messages, that now we are in a war with America.

MS. HARF: This is not about ISIL versus the United States. I think I made that clear yesterday. They are killing anyone who gets in their way – Sunni, Shia Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, Iraqis, Syrians – anyone who gets in their way, and now an American. So this is not about what the United States is or isn’t doing. This is about ISIL’s stated commitment to murder, rape, enslave people who don’t agree with their ideology and who get in their way. And I think the more we can say that – because it’s true – it’s important for people to remember that as they look at the overall picture.

QUESTION: The reason that I’m asking this question because it’s – it – I mean, I – in realities and in politics is matter how they look to us or how they look to United States. It’s not how they – we look to them or we are seeing it. It’s like – but they are announcing that it’s a war against America. Right or wrong, that’s what they are saying.

MS. HARF: Well, they can say whatever they’d like. But what I am making clear is that’s not what ISIL represents, and they don’t represent any religion. They are at war with everybody they come into contact with. And that’s why we are very focused, when we outline goals, on attacking their targets when they threaten those goals; on helping the Iraqis gain in capability to fight this threat on their own; and, to be very clear, holding people accountable when they hurt our people. That’s something we’re very focused on and that’s certainly what will be a guiding principle of our action going forward.

In the formulation used by Obama and Harf, it doesn’t matter what ISIS/ISIL says, never mind that they have something approaching 20,000 active fighters in the field, have routed the Iraqi Army and announced a caliphate that extinguishes the national boundaries set by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Never mind that they’ve announced the intention to bring their violence to America. They can’t be at war with us because we won’t let them. Harf, in particular, gives hardworking and diligent imbeciles everywhere a bad name. Just because they have declared war on all manner of other people doesn’t mean they can’t declare war on us, too. I mean the Japanese and Germans did that in 1939-41.

The correct action for Obama is to take these people at their word and act accordingly. At this point they are weak and without the organizational structure to present a terribly credible threat. The AUMF that Obama wishes to have terminated is a good vehicle to do what needs to be done. The problem is that, at his core, Obama doesn’t like American power or influence. He won’t respond decisively to crush this threat and will ensure a future attack on America.