Many thought that the murders which took place in January at the Paris-based satirical publication Charlie Hebdo represented the watershed moment for radical Islamic terrorism. On February 3, we learned that ISIS murdered two hostages: a Japanese journalist was beheaded and a Jordanian pilot of Muslim faith was burned to death. With these incidents, ISIS demonstrated once again that they have no respect for human life and that there are no limits to their brutality. The burning of a Muslim reflected a departure from the tenets of Islamic faith, as the faith views burning an individual, particularly a Muslim, as breaking a law. The fact that the murders were believed to have been committed a month ago revealed that the perpetrators had no intention of negotiating with Japan or Jordan. The video depicting the death of the pilot Lieutenant Al-Kasesbeh was so horrific that some news outlets refused to air it. Jordan’s King Abdullah, a former general, was unequivocal in his response promising a “retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen”. King Abdullah, who was in Washington DC the day the murder of the Jordanian pilot was announced, returned to Jordan the next day and ordered the executions of Sajida al-Rishawi, who was convicted for her involvement in a 2005 hotel bombing that killed 60 people in Amman, and Ziad al-Karbouly, an Iraqi who had been an aide to Al Qaeda in Iraq founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. According to Western media, Jordan has already killed 55 ISIS militants this week.
As for President Barack Obama, in his official response he mentioned his intentions to “redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they (ISIS) are degraded and ultimately defeated.” Redouble? Is that even a word? Furthermore, three days earlier during a Super Bowl Sunday interview with Savannah Guthrie of The Today Show, he said that his administration and their allies were already doing everything to combat ISLE. How can you redouble, if you are already at maximum performance? Again, this was was hardly a response worthy of the leader of free world. Where was the outrage? Where was the passionate commitment to eradicating terrorism? But then again, President Obama can’t even utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism”.
President Obama will be introducing a new national security strategy which will detail the Obama Administration’s plans for confronting extremist terrorist organizations on Friday February 6. Counter-terrorism experts have high expectations for the document and are hoping that it includes a comprehensive plan for combatting the Islamic State. The strategy document is long overdue, but the recent incidents fueled by ISIS had resulted in the National Security Council staff having to put additional efforts into revising the document. A 1986 law requires presidents to provide an annual national security document. And while some presidents have been delinquent in the timeliness of the document delivery, President Obama has been the most delinquent in that he has not produced a National Security document since 2010, five years ago. After President Obama famously put his foot in his mouth last summer, when he said that we didn’t have a strategy for dealing with ISIS, a number of senators put pressure on the administration to generate a national strategy document as soon as possible. They further made the point that there was not an acceptable reason for the delays.
Well, we clearly need a strategy document. But strategy documents are only as good as the tactics delineated in them and the foot soldiers tasked with implementing the tactics. If the document just sits on shelf, it is worthless. The President needs to clearly articulate to the American people his plan for defeating ISIS, Al Qaeda and any other extremist groups. After all, haven’t we witnessed enough bloodshed at the hands of these barbarians? President Obama has to show that he is ready to stand up to them.
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