From The Wall Street Journal:
So What Will You Do, Mr. President?
Denunciations won’t stop the men who killed James Foley.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement from Martha’s Vineyard. (Reuters)
President Obama on Wednesday condemned the made-for-YouTube murder of American James Foley with as much passion as we’ve seen from the cool Commander in Chief.He said that Foley’s killers in the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, “have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims—both Sunni and Shia—by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion.”
All of this is horribly true. It was also true a year ago. The question now—what the world wants to know now, Mr. President—is what are you going to do about it?
Well, we all know what President Obama will do: nothing, nothing at all. But we have this, also from the Journal:
Three Senior Hamas Military Leaders Killed in Israeli Airstrike in Gaza
Deaths Are a Hit to Islamic Militants After Collapse of Cease-Fire
By Joshua Mitnick in Tel Aviv and Asa Fitch in Gaza City | Updated Aug. 21, 2014 4:12 p.m. ET
Raed Attar, left, and Mohammed Abu Shamlah stand before a Palestinian Authority court in Gaza in February 1999. An Israeli airstrike Thursday killed three senior Hamas military commanders–including Messrs. Attar and Shamlah–in the Gaza Strip. (Reuters) Click to enlarge.
Israel killed three top Hamas commanders in an airstrike on Thursday in the southern Gaza Strip, officials from Hamas and Israel said, striking a blow to the Islamist group’s military leadership after the collapse of a cease-fire and truce talks in Egypt.The deaths of Mohammed Abu Shamalah, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum, who the Islamist movement’s military wing described as three of its most prominent leaders in Rafah, followed Wednesday’s attempted assassination of military chief Mohammed Deif, which killed his wife and two children.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu credited Israel’s domestic-intelligence service, the Shin Bet, with identifying the three officials’ whereabouts.
It seems that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t have much trouble deciding what to do to enemies at war with Israel: he has them hunted down and killed. Back to the first article:
Six years into this Presidency, we know Barack Obama can do empathy. We know he can channel a family’s grief for a murdered son and express a nation’s outrage. What we don’t know is if he can muster the will and fortitude to defeat an enemy that is growing in strength and danger on his watch. This is what America and the world need from a President when killers are on the march.
If it serves any purpose, the butchery of James Foley will open more eyes about the threat ISIS poses to the Middle East and to America. Make no mistake, Foley was killed because he was American. The masked murderer in the video made that clear. Captured in Syria two years ago, the courageous journalist may have been kept alive precisely for this kind of public execution. The video also displayed another captured American freelance journalist, Steven Sotloff, whose fate it said would depend on Mr. Obama’s “next decision” on bombing in Iraq.
It is folly to think this brutality will be confined to unlucky journalists or the sands of western Iraq. ISIS knows which country’s bombs have forced its retreat from the Mosul Dam this week, and it knows American power is the greatest threat to its dreams of a regional caliphate stretching from Lebanon to Kuwait. The jihadists know they are at war against America.
Yet it is not clear that Mr. Obama is willing to admit even now that America is at war against ISIS. American bombs are hitting ISIS Humvees in northern Iraq, but Mr. Obama continues to limit the military mission to preventing genocide against the Yazidi minority and protecting the U.S. consulate in Erbil. This is a defensive containment strategy. It is not a strategy for killing and defeating ISIS.
More at the two links.
We might as well face facts: Steven Sotloff is a dead man walking, a brave journalist who knew he risks of working in the combat zones, and nothing President Obama could do, short of withdrawing all American forces from the Middle East, all of the Middle East, would get ISIS to release Mr Sotloff. Worse, if somehow his release was arranged, for cash, for changed policy, for whatever, such will simply confirm the value of seizing Americans to hold as hostages. President Reagan tried to secretly negotiate our way out of the hostage crisis in Lebanon, getting some hostages released in exchange for armaments, only to have other Americans and other Westerners seized.
Some White House speechwriter got the President to tell the nation and the world that there was no just God in whose name the execution of Mr Foley could be justified. If the President actually believed the words written for him, if the President actually understood what he was saying, and based our policy upon it, he would understand, as Prime Minister Netanyahu does, that the only thing that you can do to enemies in war is to kill them. You don’t allow them safe havens, you don’t seek to just keep them away from a vulnerable group of people, but you have to go after them, you have to carry the attack to their hideouts, their camps, and their homes, and inflict so much death and destruction upon them than any of them who survive are going to be so beaten and so broken that they’ll never stir beyond their own miserable huts.
Does anyone, anyone at all, believe that President Obama has the cojones to actually do it?
Update: Via Donald Douglas, Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs reported that the abortive mission to rescue Mr Foley failed because “the president drug his feet. He waited too long, the intel got stale, and by the time we actually gave the ‘go’ word it failed because we just didn’t react quick enough.“