America's military is amazingly strong. The men and women, their tools of the trade, and their training, make them the most lethal killing machines and the greatest force for peace the world has ever seen. But when our political leaders lack the will to use American military power in the face of what Mr. Obama himself now says is a serious national threat in a way which would produce success, then our military can do nothing. My argument here isn't that we should be in full-scale war with the Islamic State (that is what they call themselves, not ISIL, or ISIS, or anything else intended to obscure their true nature). Instead it is that if you are going to say that the Islamic State is a serious national threat, as opposed to a mere JV squad now apparently engaging in intercontinental play, then you had better act like you mean it.
We all saw and heard this terrible president say to Syria that a red line was being drawn. And then it soon became obvious that we had no idea just where we painted the damn thing. This portrays weakness, dithering, and fecklessness. When JFK allowed the Bay of Pigs effort to move forward and then refused to give it the support that was promised I think the Soviets understood this to mean JFK was weak and unwilling to use American power for an American purpose it claimed was essential. So why not, if America has a weak American president, put missiles into Cuba, and so alter the balance of power. Today most Americans hold JFK up as an example of sterling wisdom in the face of Soviet aggression, but the reality is that to get those missiles out of Cuba we had to risk far larger war than had JFK just aided the Bay of Pigs fighters as promised, and we had to give up a variety of advantages we had around the world, particularly in Turkey. The Soviets, in other words, gained because more than one year earlier we failed to exhibit the will necessary to succeed. JFK refused to use American military power to help achieve a goal the USA supported.
The point then is not to always go to war, but is instead to always wisely consider the response our adversaries will likely have given how we act. If the Islamic State is a serious national threat, as the awful Mr. Obama now claims following his pathetically unwise "JV" comments, then our unwillingness to match that threat with swift and sure actions to destroy it, is just more evidence of more red lines we won't be able to find when push comes to shove.
On the left the two watchwords seem to be "nuance" and "proportionality". I have no problem with nuance, but as Mr. Obama has clearly got it all wrong in this particular case I think the time might be right for some bright line clarity. Either state our serious national threat with the Islamic State, or shut up and come home. Nuance with people whose goal is to cut off each of our heads is a fools errand. As far as being proportional, I agree there too, but my view of proportions are not "1 for 1", which is the meaning of the word when used by leftists. If the Islamic State kills one of us, then we kill 1,000, or 10,000, or some wildly high proportion of them. We are dealing with people who want us all dead, and millions of them are prepared to kill others in an act of suicide themselves. A "1 for 1" mentality only encourages the Islamic State and makes them view us as weak.
And if all we want to do, apparently, is drop bombs, well okay too. Go Dresden on them. Now. Lots of "innocent" Muslims may die, and this is a shame, but if an air campaign is the only tool this awful president will use, then at least use it completely. Because our president was--and is--so feckless we are reduced to few options if we actually want to succeed. If only Mr. Obama had the will to act. Well, we can all hope for change, can't we?