President Obama continues to have a difficult time identifying what it is that we’re dealing with in the Middle East. Earlier this week, in an interview with news website Vox, the President in referring to those killed by al’Qaeda operatives in a Jewish Deli in France, said we are dealing with people who ‘randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris’.
He followed up the comment with an point that he has to deal with terrorism “in the same way a mayor has to cut the crime rate”. At the end of the interview, Obama discussed how he felt respect for the troops, but said regarding Iraq that “the strategy that was crafted in Washington didn’t always match up to the actual threats that were out there”. It’s safe to assume he means they overestimated the threats and not the reverse.
Terrorist attacks on a public location are not the same thing as a drive-by shooting, and there is no analogy between wiping out terrorism and bringing down the crime rate in a city. This thought process is consistent, though, for Obama, who was more concerned with bringing the Benghazi killers to justice than anything else for their militaristic attack on our consulate there. Obama believes the terrorists should be tried and found guilty of murder in a civil proceeding. The fact is that these are armed militants who are volunteers in an army that has long since declared war against the West and the US in particular, and they should be treated as prisoners of war, not jailed criminals. They are guilty of war crimes, not spontaneous manslaughter. This effort should be prosecuted by an army, not a police force.
Jonathan Karl, reporting for ABC, pressed the White House on the issue during a conference yesterday.
Thank goodness for Mr. Karl’s questioning, or apparently nobody would have touched the issue. Here’s the transcript from ABC:
KARL: This was not a random shooting of a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris. This was an attack on a kosher deli. Does the president have any doubt that those terrorists attacked that deli because there would be Jews in that deli?
EARNEST: Well, Jon, it is clear from the — the terrorists, in some of the writings that they put out afterwards, what their motivation was. The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.
KARL: Well, they weren’t killed because they were in a Jewish deli, though? Because they were in a kosher deli?
EARNEST: These individuals were not targeted by name. This is the point.
KARL: Not by name but by — by religion, were they not?
EARNEST: Well, Jon, there were people other than just Jews who were in that deli.
KARL: So you think that was a — that deli was attacked because it was a kosher deli…
EARNEST: No, Jon. Any random deli, Jon.
KARL: It was a kosher deli.
EARNEST: I answered the question once. No.
The White House’s position is clear, then, it could’ve been any random deli. The State Department had a press conference yesterday too, and their response was similarly muddy. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, at a press briefing yesterday, helpfully pointed out that not all the victims were Jewish:
“Well, as you know, I believe, if I remember the victims specifically, they were not all victims of one background or one nationality. So I think what they mean by that is I don’t know that they spoke to the targeting of the grocery store or that specifically, but the individuals who were impacted.”
Both Psaki and Earnest, later in the day, proved the insanity by effectively recanting what they’d previously said:
Our view has not changed. Terror attack at Paris Kosher market was motivated by anti-Semitism. POTUS didn't intend to suggest otherwise.
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) February 10, 2015
We have always been clear that the attack on the kosher grocery store was an anti-semitic attack that took the lives of innocent people.
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) February 10, 2015
Clear? You decide. The only thing clear is that once again our Government is either unwilling or unable to competently prosecute anything – not interactions with the public, not an effective foreign policy, and certainly not an effective military campaign against an enemy who is quite serious in both intent and capability.
This same administration, brimming with incompetence, now comes to the American people asking for our permission to execute a ground war against ISIS. Just days ago, in the Vox video, the President said the media overstates the level of alarm we should have when considering terrorism, and that we overestimated the threat we faced going into Iraq. That’s hard to assess as credible given the surge of troops required to secure the country prior to him attaining the presidency, and how quickly the resurgence of radicalism filled the vacuum left by his withdrawal of our troops there. Will he underestimate ISIS again, like he already has by calling it the JV team and ignoring it until it became what it is today?