The other day, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote that, “ISIS is awful but is not a threat to America’s homeland.”
Let’s hope he’s right, but who thought Al Qaeda was a threat to America’s homeland – until it was?
The fact is that hundreds of Americans and British young men have signed on to fight with ISIS against the United States and Britain and who knows who and what else. They carry passports that allow them easy entry into this country. They might get caught trying to return home after a year or two in Syria, but they might not. And if they don’t, is it really that hard to imagine an American jihadist making a suicide vest and setting it off on a crowded street somewhere in the United States?
That would be a threat to America’s homeland, wouldn’t it?
Another recent column in the New York Times, this one by reliably liberal Charles Blow, runs under the headline: “Obama And the Warmongers.” And who would those bloodthirsty warmongers be? Conservatives! Who else?
After meekly describing ISIS as a “militant group” which the president called “barbaric” Mr. Blows writes that right-wingers are dangerously pushing us to war. There is, he writes, “tremendous political pressure coming from the screeching of war hawks and an anxious and frightened public, weighted most heavily among Republicans and exacerbated by the right-wing media machine.”
Mr. Blow also writes that, “Fear is in the air. The president is trying to take a deliberative approach, but he may be drowned out by the drums of war and the chants for blood.”
There’s nothing wrong with caution, given how little caution was taken that got us into the mess in Iraq in the first place. And there’s nothing wrong, either, with a liberal columnist taking a liberal view, even one as predictable as blaming conservatives for warmongering.
But even ideological pundits have to play fair. And Mr. Blow doesn’t.
Before Charles Blow wrote his column it wasn’t a conservative who said, “This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated.” It was Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Barack Obama’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And there was this about how ISIS is an “imminent threat to every interest we have.” No, it didn’t come from Rush Limbaugh. It was Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who issued the warning.
I wonder if Charles Blow thinks they also are warmongers.
And then there was Joe Biden, who told a crowd in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that the United States would track down those who cut the heads off of two American journalists:
“We don’t forget,” Mr. Biden said. “We take care of those who are grieving, and when that’s finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside.”
Yes, the vice president said that after Charles Blow wrote his column about warmongers. But he could always do a follow-up. But he won’t.
And finally, there is Mr. Obama himself who told reporters in Estonia: “The bottom line is this: “Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it is no longer a threat.” Then, a few minutes later, he said: “We can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”
As the ABC News website put it: “Obama Suggests ISIS Must Be Destroyed (or Maybe Not)”
Mr. Obama’s dedication to caution and doublespeak aside, I wonder: Is that first part warmongering? How to you destroy ISIS terrorists if you don’t wage war on them?
How do you chase them to the gates of hell if you don’t wage war on them?
How do you defeat barbarians with an “apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision” if you don’t wage war on them?
How do you defeat an enemy that is an “imminent threat to every interest we have” if you don’t wage war on them.
Perhaps, Charles Blow can set his partisan, ideological liberalism aside for a few minutes and play the role of a real journalist and write a column about that.