Thursday, the president laid out three areas where governments can focus to “protect their families and friends and neighbors from violent ideologies and recruitment”:
- “Remain unwavering in our fight against terrorist organizations”
- “Confront the warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like al-Qaeda and [ISIS]
- “Address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances”
Obama likes to emphasize the passive, the “remain unwavering” and “remain vigilant” part of fighting, as if making a show of standing on this side of the line in the sand, opposite the bad guys, is enough. He doesn’t have the killer instinct to take the fight to the enemy, to hit them over and over until they die or surrender because, as a post-nationalist progressive, he views killing bad guys with distaste. Kinda like Nietzsche, he’s beyond good and evil as moral categories.
You can feel the unwaveringness in the administration’s reaction to ally Egypt’s air strikes on ISIS targets in Libya this week:
“We didn’t participate or support them in any way, and we’re not taking a position on it.” –Rear Admiral John Kirby
As well as State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: “We can’t kill our way out of this war.”
As well in Obama’s interview with George Stephanopoulos last June:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we under serious threat right now from ISIS?
OBAMA: You know, we’ve been under serious threat my entire presidency. And we were under serious threat predating 9/11, from those who embrace this ideology.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they’re gaining strength, aren’t they?
OBAMA: They’re gaining strength in some places. But we’ve also got a lot better at protecting ourselves.
[Yawn. Next topic.]
As Obama’s other two points show, he would rather win the enemy’s hearts and minds than win the war. Unfortunately, what he offers, economic opportunity, is no substitute for Islamic jihad, for Allah, the god of wrath and conquest. In men’s hearts, soulless secular materialism is easily crushed under the weight of genuine, sacrificial faith. This is a big part of why America and more so Europe can’t assimilate Muslim immigrants. It’s also why atheism often connotes belief in something other than God.
Erick Erickson writes:
It’s not just Barack Obama. A host of Western leaders are incapable of confronting ISIS. There is one major reason. They have sought to scratch the itch in the soul of man with materialism when men know deep down there is something more.
The Islamic State offers the struggle and danger to satiate the wandering, restless soul of many seeking to be part of a cause greater than themselves.
Liberals have tried to infuse faith in their cause to replicate the kind of fervor that genuine faith produces. Obama’s charismatic 2008 campaign speeches used religious hooks to make people believers again in America. Before that was Michael Lerner’s “politics of meaning.” But they place hope in fallen man and the material world, so as idols they fail. Our worth as human beings is not in politics, or in the flesh or the things of the world. They don’t come close to approaching the magnitude of “my rock and my fortress and my deliverer” (Psalm 18:2), the true God whose faithfulness in His creation is demonstrated by sending His Son to take the punishment for our sins.