Over a year ago, on August 9. 2013 Obama was asked at a press conference what he planned to do about the explosion of Al Queda and related groups all over Africa and the Middle East. He responded by saying that it "requires us, then, to make sure that we have a strategy" to strengthen regional partners to deal with the issue.
A year later and the problem has gotten much, much worse. Asked about the problem on Thursday, August 28, 2014 Obama said: "I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet." He was talking specifically about Syria and ISIS but the statement might as well cover the entire range of terrorist threats.
Of course following this admission that he has no strategy to deal with the most serious and immediate problem in Syria he turned around on Friday and jetted off for more fundraisers and a wedding. Apparently bashing Republicans at a fundraiser is more important than developing and then implementing a strategy to deal with what his own Secretary of Defense declares is a threat "beyond anything that we’ve seen," and “so we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it…and get ready.”
Does anyone think we are ready?
British Prime Minister Has Strong Words and Strong Action
Contrast Obama's weak response with these words from British Prime Minister David Cameron the day after Obama spoke:
The first ISIL inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place. We now believe that at least 500 people have travelled from Britain to fight in Syria, and potentially Iraq. Let’s be clear about the source of the threat that we face. The terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq war 10 years ago. It existed even before the horrific attacks on 9/11, themselves some time before the Iraq war. This threat cannot be solved simply by dealing with the perceived grievances over Western foreign policy. Nor can it be dealt with by addressing poverty, dictatorship or instability in the region, as important as these things are.Cameron followed that statement with a series of strong measures his government is taking to combat the threat. No need to wait and certainly not wait another year like Obama.
The root cause of this threat to our security is quite clear. It is a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders. It believes in using the most brutal forms of terrorism to force people to accept a warped world view and to live in an almost medieval state. A state in which its own citizens would suffer unimaginable brutality, including barbaric beheadings of those who refuse to convert to their warped version of Islam; the enslavement and raping of women; and the widespread slaughter of Muslims by fellow Muslims. And, of course, the exporting of terrorism abroad.
Now, we cannot appease this ideology. We have to confront it at home and abroad. To do this we need a tough, intelligent, patient and comprehensive approach to defeat the terrorist threat at its source. Tough, in that we need a firm security response whether that is action to go after the terrorists, international cooperation on intelligence and counter terrorism or uncompromising measures against terrorists here at home.
Winston Churchill decried the fact that politicians who lack clear vision or strong leadership qualities often act in a way that is too little, too late. Sadly, this describes Obama!