What President Obama Should Have Said About ISIS

Seventy-four years ago tomorrow, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Within twenty-four hours of the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt summoned a joint-session of Congress to seek a formal declaration of war.

Last week, two Islamic terrorists — one of whom was on a foreign visa — shot thirty-one civilians in San Bernadino, California, killing fourteen of them.  These terrorists had pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”), which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”).  Tonight, President Barack Obama addressed the nation concerning this terrorist attack.

Although the circumstances in 2015 are different from what our nation faced in 1941, the resolve of a president to defend our nation from acts of foreign aggression should remain constant at the very least.   In this vein, I have re-imagined what President Obama’s December 6, 2015 address to the nation would have been like if he had channeled the resolve of President Roosevelt from December 8, 1941:

On Wednesday, December 2th, 2015 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

It will be recorded that the distance of California from the Middle East makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago.

The attack four days ago in San Bernadino, California, has caused many American lives to be lost.

Previously, ISIL also launched an attack against Paris, France.

Previously, ISIL also attacked a Russian jet liner.

Previously, ISIL has beheaded Christians for their faith.

ISIL has, therefore, undertaken an offensive extending throughout the World.  The facts of ISIL’s actions speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated attack, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by ISIL on Wednesay, December 2, 2015, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Compare this modern paraphrase of FDR’s address to Congress with what President Obama actually said.  Pertinent quotes are below:

Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists. For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight.

My fellow Americans, these are the steps that we can take together to defeat the terrorist threat. Let me now say a word about what we should not do.

We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That’s what groups like ISIL want. They know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield. ISIL fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq. But they also know that if we occupy foreign lands, they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops, draining our resources, and using our presence to draw new recruits.

The strategy that we are using now — airstrikes, Special Forces, and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country — that is how we’ll achieve a more sustainable victory. And it won’t require us sending a new generation of Americans overseas to fight and die for another decade on foreign soil.

In short, President Obama exclaims how we can beat ISIL in the battlefield.  But then, in the very same breath, he says that we shouldn’t do it because we might encourage ISIL’s recruiting efforts (as if bombing them isn’t doing that already).  How absurd!

If President Roosevelt had expressed similar feelings in 1941, he would have been summarily impeached right then and there.

Seriously.  Imagine if FDR had said, more or less, what President Obama said just this very night:

Members of Congress, we should not be drawn into a long and costly ground war with Japan.  That’s what the Emperor wants.  He knows that he can’t defeat us on the battlefield.  But he knows that if we occupy the Pacific islands, the Japanese can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops, draining our resources, and using our presence to draw more kamikazes to attack our ships.

History shows that we did have a long and costly ground war with Japan, losing thousands of our troops in places like Corregidor, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima.  And history shows that the Japanese devotion to the Emperor enabled the island nation to maintain insurgencies for years in odd and sundry places, draining our resources and mobilizing recruits.  So if FDR had declared what Obama would say seventy-four years later, he technically would have been correct.

But he didn’t say that.

He didn’t caution us against fighting.

Instead, President Roosevelt spoke of the “grave danger” that America faced as a result of Japanese aggression.  He spoke of taking “all measures for our defense.”  And he promised that we would “defend ourselves to the uttermost.”

Then he directed the U.S. Army and Navy to kick Tojo’s ass…. which they did!

If President Obama had simply called on the American people to fight this evil — by calling it evil — without pulling any punches, we would be all in.

But instead, the President of the United States just told the terrorists that he intends to fight them with one arm tied behind his back.  That is an open invitation to come back and do some more.

Friends, that is not the way to win a war…. That’s how you lose one.

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Gun Control and the Death of Personal Responsibility

Earlier today, Deion Sanders was asked about the shootings in San Bernadino, Calif. In response, he said that guns aren’t picking up themselves and pulling triggers on their own; people are doing that.

Ponder the wisdom of Neon Deion for a moment.

Guns are inanimate objects. They cannot do harm to anyone unless they are first activated by a person. So the responsibility for gun violence cannot rest upon the guns themselves.  Rather, the responsibility must rest upon the people who use them.

Despite the axiomatic simplicity of this notion, liberal politicians race to the nearest microphones every time a mass shooting occurs to bemoan the accessibility of guns – overlooking the fact that in neighboring Mexico, where all guns are banned, the drug cartels have as much firepower in some places as the military.

In short, no gun control law will ever protect the people completely. If the Mexicans are incapable of keeping guns from entering their country, why do liberals think that we will do any better keeping guns out of our country?  (It’s not like we actually have a commitment to border control or anything like that.)

Even if we could seal our borders to keep guns from coming into our fair land, that wouldn’t prevent a terrorist from using a pipe bomb, a truck filled with fertilizer and diesel fuel, or a few box-cutters on an airplane to bring calamity to our citizens.  Yesterday, the San Bernadino terrorists used pipe bombs (fortunately, to no avail).

Nevertheless, despite the utter futility in passing gun restrictions, liberals always blame guns whenever mass shootings happen.  They hardly ever blame the perpetrators. (Or if they do actually mention the perpetrators, it is almost always to blame the perpetrator’s mental illness – and not the perpetrator himself.)

The responses of liberal politicians to acts of violence make perfect sense when we recognize that liberalism and personal responsibility are now mutually-exclusive concepts.

In the eyes of liberalism, nobody is truly responsible for his or her actions anymore.

  • When a man and woman create a baby that they do not want to accept responsibility for, abortion is encouraged.
  • When minimum-wage workers lament their poverty, instead of being told to suck it up, to do an excellent job, and to ready themselves for promotion (like every other person who ever started work at minimum wage), liberals promise them $15.00 per hour just to maintain the status quo.

Simply put, liberals want the government to baby everyone — so that when we citizens misbehave, the government can take our guns, our money, and our property just as any parent would take an unruly child’s toys.

It’s time for America to grow up.

This is a tough world we live in. There are people who want to destroy our way of life just because we stand for freedom. Therefore, we must take personal responsibility for our own actions and for the people we are charged to protect.

Yesterday, the police of San Bernadino performed valiantly in the face of danger. Even though it took only four minutes for police to respond — which is very quick — fourteen people were already dead before they arrived.

When the police are not there to save us, we must be ready to respond. We must be able to take responsibility for the safety and welfare of ourselves and our families.  That means having concealed carry laws to enable law-abiding citizens to bring their own security to public places.

But we simply cannot do that if the government thinks we, the people, are incapable of having that responsibility. And as long as we facilitate that notion of victim mentality – by lobbying for every goody that government can provide at the expense of someone else – we will continue to foster that paternalistic mentality that says Washington must be in complete control of our lives.

And if Washington is in complete control of our lives, then we will never be totally safe or totally free.

IRAQ: How We Won the War, But Lost the Peace

When I think of the situation in Iraq, I am reminded of the scenario that Jesus describes in Matthew 12:43-45:

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Eleven years ago, American and British forces expelled Saddam Hussein from power, liberating the Iraqi people from his dictatorial control.  His sudden departure created a power vacuum, thereby attracting terrorist organizations to this oil-rich country.  Coalition forces spent the next eight years warding off this insurgency.  In 2010, President Obama announced that the United States would pull out of Iraq.  By December 2011, we were gone.

I realize that I have used quite a broad brush to describe Operation Iraqi Freedom.  However, why we went into Iraq and what we did there are no longer important to this discussion.  What matters now is that the United States no longer has a military presence in Iraq, and as such, our enemies have taken advantage of our absence to bring instability to the region.

It’s been said that “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”  When it comes to foreign policy, this is all-the-more true.  If the United States doesn’t engage the world, our enemies will.  And where the United States is absent, our enemies will thrive.

President Theodore Roosevelt advised that we should “speak softly but carry a big stick.”  A century ago, he took his big stick and put it on a grand world tour.  Calling it the “Great White Fleet,” the Rough Rider sent sixteen battleships around the world.  Today, Navy historians refer to it as “a grand pageant of American sea power.

Even though he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace just the year before, President Roosevelt saw no problem in displaying American military exceptionalism to the rest of the world.  Unlike the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Prize, he didn’t apologize for our strength; he touted it.  President Roosevelt understood that peace is achieved — and then preserved — not only though a show of strength, but also by a show of presence.

Which brings us back to today.  Two-and-a-half years after the United States withdrew its military forces from Iraq, the President now states that he is sending 245 men to protect our embassy.  (He explains that they will not be doing combat operations; they will only be protecting the interests of our people in the Embassy.)

I’ll admit, 245 men doesn’t seem like a lot of military support.  But in fairness, there may be more military forces that he is sending, by way of, perhaps, top-secret presidential findings for which we are not aware.  So, maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt.  After all, this is more support than the Benghazi consulate received in 2012 after it fell under attack.  Maybe the President has learned from what happened there.

Still, the fact that the President is reluctant to commit publicly to a significant show of strength is disturbing.  It seems almost as if he is ashamed of having to use military force.  (Perhaps someone should ask him.)

In any event, the problems associated with Iraq have resulted from the lack of an American military presence in or near the area.  Whether this is the fault of the President or the Congress or whoever else is immaterial.  What matters is that Iraq has gotten worse because we cleaned the place up and left it in the hands of people who were ill-equipped to maintain order and security.

Let’s keep something in perspective here.  If the Allies had maintained a military presence in Germany following World War I, there wouldn’t have been a World War II because Hitler wouldn’t have been able to rise to power so quickly.  Conversely, because we kept a presence in Germany following World War II — even to this very day, mind you — peace has been preserved.

We defeated the Japanese in 1945.  Sixty-nine years later, we still have a force of about 50,000 troops in Japan providing defense to the island nation. Likewise, in 1953, North and South Korea stopped fighting (although, technically, a state of war still exists.)  Sixty-one years later, we still have troops stationed near the DMZ.

Had the President followed suit in Iraq, the situation wouldn’t be as bad as it is now.  Yes, we still would have casualties each month.  Yes, there would still be suffering and pain for our brave men and women (as well as their families back home).  But we would still be in the position strategically to put a stop to terror before it could return to our shores. Instead, the strategy of the United States is to trust the security of Iraq with … Iran.

How absurd!  Secretary of State Kerry is asking IRAN — you know, the guys who coined the phrase “death to America,” who held our own embassy personnel captive for 444 days — to keep the peace in Iraq.  (You may also recall that Iran and Iraq had a really nasty conflict from 1980-1988.)

Asking Iran to keep the peace in Iraq is like asking the Boko Haram to #BringBackOurGirls.   That dog just don’t hunt.

It was naive to think that the United States could leave Iraq without maintaining any military presence and still expect that al Queda — or ISIS, or whoever the bad guy de jour is — would avoid the place.  As a result of this naivety, we are now so powerless to protect our interests that we feel compelled to ask Iran for help. That’s just plain embarrassing!

In the final analysis, we have left the barn door open for evil to take a foothold in Iraq.  Now the situation is significantly worse than it was before we invaded. Unless Iraq is stabilized quickly, the Axis of Evil may soon extend to Baghdad, leaving the rest of the world in a most precarious state.

For these reasons, we need to pray for our leaders — especially our President  (something that I readily admit I have failed to do).  Beyond this, we must also pray for the brave men and women who will have to clean up this mess, because they bear the greatest burden of all — the burden of keeping the problems that are over there from coming back over here.