President Obama gave a statement this afternoon on the beheading of James Foley by devotees of the Islamic State yesterday. Obama referred to him throughout as “Jim Foley” and “Jim,” seeking for some reason to convey the impression that he was on intimate terms with him, although I would like to think he would have been a little more upset than he was if he had been. The White House transcript of Obama’s statement is here; the video is below.
Foley’s publicized beheading by the bloodthirsty devotees of the Islamic State is certainly an event that signifies and calls for a response by the president. Yet this is another of the many times and instances when Obama would better have remained silent and been thought a fool than opened his mouth and removed all doubt.
Obama purports to speak for “the entire world” in observing that the entire world “is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL.” It would be nice if he would deign to speak on behalf of the United States, which is in fact his responsibility as president. Obama not only speaks on behalf of the world as a detached observer, he pronounces the timeless historical laws that are the fruit of his observation.
Obama provides a non sequitur for the ages: “So ISIL speaks for no religion.” Obama asserts in his accustomed sophomoric style that “one thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.” And like a bona fide ignoramus he declares “people like this ultimately fail. They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.”
Descending to his worldly office, Obama vows: “The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done. And we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.”
“Act[ion] against ISIL” is a pathetically thin promise.
Obama assures us that “we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.” Where once was “audacity” is now “civility.” We have a rendezvous with pallor.
Heading via Bill Kristol/Weekly Standard.