Islamic militants have purportedly beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff and are now threatening to kill a British hostage if American air strikes continue, and a former Pentagon official warns the ISIS rampage will continue as long as President Obama remains paralyzed by indecision and fails to declare America’s goals with respect to the terrorist army.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, threatened to kill Sotloff in the same video depicting the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley less than two weeks ago. In addition to forcing Sotloff to denounce the U.S. before his murder, the masked executioner condemns the U.S. for the ongoing air campaign and for assisting Kurdish forces in reclaiming the key dam near Mosul.
“You, Obama, have but to gain from your actions but another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike out people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone,” said the ISIS figure, believed by U.K. intelligence to be former British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary.
Jed Babbin, who served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration, said, “It’s pretty evident that ISIS has effectively declared war against the United States. We have not taken any decisions that are aimed at decisively defending our interests, our people or our allies abroad. That’s really the whole thing.
“People keep bleating about how we don’t have a strategy. Well sure, we don’t, but the reason we don’t have a strategy is President Obama has dithered and blithered for so long. He does not have the decisions made. You need to make the decisions on policy first. You need to decide what your goal is, what you want to have as the result of your actions, before you can have a strategy. He doesn’t do that,” said Babbin, who noted that Obama’s indecision on this issue is not unique to this week or the past couple of months.
“We have reports that through the president’s daily intelligence brief, he has known and ignored specific intelligence about ISIS for about a year. What does it take to get this guy off his indecision and into the game?” he asked.
ISIS has gobbled vast swaths of land in both Syria and Iraq. Babbin said without decisiveness from Obama, Americans will only see more of the same and the terrorists will be harder to stop.
“The danger to us is going to continue to grow,” he said. “There are going to be more people trying to come into the United States. Effectively our borders are pretty much open. God forbid, but we may see another big terrorist attack here as a result of not closing the borders and not doing anything really to put ISIS back on its heels.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Jed Babbin:
What should be the stated goals of U.S. policy and strategy with respect to ISIS? According to Babbin, the U.S. objective should be nothing short of its annihilation.
“We should destroy, as best we can, everything ISIS has,” he said. “As an example, we see B-roll on television all the time of tanks flying the al-Qaida flag, trucks flying the ISIS and al-Qaida flags. Every single vehicle that is moving anywhere in Iraq or Syria flying that flag ought to get hit with a 250-pound bomb. That’s the whole point. That’s what you do. That’s what we should do and obviously we’re not doing it.”
Mirroring some homeland security measures recently adopted in Great Britain are also appealing national security steps in Babbin’s mind. He said keeping terrorists out of the country, whether foreign or domestic, is a great idea.
“If you go abroad and you join the army of another nation, and I would argue ISIS or al-Qaida, under our law you lose your citizenship. Why shouldn’t we be enforcing that?” he asked. “Why shouldn’t we be doing that in a way that prevents these people from coming here and doing to America what they’re trying to do in Iraq and Syria?”
Babbin said despite Obama’s penchant for keeping his finger in the wind, decisions like this are the job of the president and not Congress. In fact, his estimation of the congressional role to play in this crisis is exceedingly low.
“There would be a role for Congress if Congress had not rendered itself irrelevant to pretty much everything that’s going on these days,” he said. “They could be urging the president on. They could be bringing up the idea of whether we want, for example, a declaration of war against ISIS. They could do things like that. They’re not because they are what they are, and they’re not particularly relevant these days.”
Babbin credits the tough, pointed comments of British Prime Minister David Cameron for motivating ISIS to threaten the life of a British hostage in the wake of Sotloff’s death. He said the terrorists may be concluding Obama isn’t even worth their time.
“Because Obama has made himself irrelevant to these things, why should ISIS care about Obama any more than Putin does?” he asked. “He’s taken himself out of the picture.”