Obama: We Must Not Show Fear

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In the week since the Paris terrorist attacks, President Obama has – on occasion – sounded as though it was his sworn duty to fend off serious American concerns with snark and comedy. He has accused Republican lawmakers and candidates of being scared of “widows and orphans” – a reference to concerns about the Syrian refugee program. He has referred to ISIS as a “bunch of killers with good social media.” And while millions have questioned his commitment to defeating ISIS, he has maintained that the American strategy is working.

On Sunday, speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Obama revealed a bit of a psychology behind the way he’s been carrying on. “The most powerful tool we have to fight ISIL is to say that we’re not afraid,” he said. “To not elevate them. To somehow buy into their fantasy that they’re doing something important.”

So at least that makes some modicum of sense, which is more than we’ve seen in some time from this administration. It doesn’t make it right, but it does have some reasoning behind it. That’s a step in the right direction at least. It at least tells us that there is a method to the madness, even if the bottom line remains…well, madness.

The truth is that it really doesn’t matter if Parisians gather in the streets and claim, “We’re not afraid.” It doesn’t matter if people gather in Times Square or if they cower inside. Well, it matters, but it doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re talking about, which is how to defeat ISIS. If you buy into Obama’s logic, ISIS can be defeated in the same way your parents taught you to deal with elementary school bullies. Ignore them, and they’ll go away.

Yeah. That’s not gonna work.

It is good to stand firm and show courage in the face of terrorism. It is good that Americans will not let ISIS stop them from shopping and going to rock concerts and living their lives. That’s great.

But we’re not going to stop these lunatics with a stiff upper lip. We’re going to stop them by bombing them until their pieces are scattered all over the Levant. And if we can’t do that from the sky, we’re going to have to do it from the ground. We can’t just say, “Well, these other countries and tribes need to blah blah blah.” What if they don’t? Then what? We’re just not going to do anything? Come on.

Obama is right in saying that we should show strength and resolve. That we shouldn’t let ISIS steal away our values. But that’s only half the equation.

The other half is to destroy them. Let’s get to it.