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Americans are in more danger now than ever

Wednesday evening, I listened to President Barack Obama’s address to the nation regarding the recent developments in the Middle East. I have a few thoughts about the speech that I would like to share. First, however, I believe I need to be up front about a few things. First of all, I did not support Obama in either of his bids for the presidency. I do, however, respect the office of president and I respect the man who sits in that position, regardless of how I feel about him or his policies.

With that said, every time I see or hear our president, I am troubled almost beyond expression. When Obama was re-elected, I wrote on my Facebook page – which was the only avenue at the time that I had to express such opinions – that I feared the American people had taken a step in a direction from which there was no return.

As I listened to the speech Wednesday, my greatest fears were only confirmed. The United States is not only the greatest country in the world today but it is the greatest country in the history of the world. Our founding fathers were brilliant men and they crafted a nation the likes of which the world had never before seen. They were careful to put in place a series of checks and balanced designed to limit the power of the national government while empowering the populace.

As I look at our current president, I see someone who neither respects nor appreciates our strength, our influence, our liberty, or our history. As if the far-reaching initiatives to expand the power and size of the federal government aren’t bad enough, he is underestimating our latest enemy at best. At worst, he is completely ignoring them.

We are faced with yet another threat from the Middle East. This new enemy, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has openly taunted and threatened the sovereignty of the United States. In front of the entire world, its militants gruesomely executed two American citizens. In the aftermath, ISIS threatened to bring its fight to the United States and fly its flag above the White House.

Our president and his administration seemingly shrugged it off. We don’t have a strategy yet for dealing with this new arm of militant Islam, he said. After weeks of apathy by the administration (and after being berated by members of both parties for his poor choice of words), he finally addressed the nation.

For the most part, President Obama said the right things – we will engage the enemy in an effort to eradicate them, they will not be able to find refuge in any country in the world, we will break their stronghold on the countries in which they thrive.

While he may have said many of the right things, his words seemed hollow, devoid of any passion, and forced. To me, it was quite obvious that the president did not want to be making that speech. He didn’t like what he was saying and he wasn’t in favor of the stance he was being forced to take. And I believe he was forced; left to his own devices, I do not believe the president would have made such a speech. And I do not for one minute think he believed anything he said.

The president belongs to an arm of the Democratic Party that does not believe that radical Islam exists. Obviously an Islamic sympathizer, he believes that the Islamic militants lash out at the United States in response to our involvement in the Middle East and our alliance with Israel. If we would simply back out of the Middle East and take a step away from Israel, the militants would leave us be. He is not alone in his thinking; many in his party subscribe to this way of thinking.

Unfortunately, such a belief is wrong. Dead wrong – both literally and figuratively. The very real and very scary truth is that Islam allows, and in some places instructs, its followers to eliminate those who do not convert. They are not simply dissenters; they are enemies. And their enemies need to be eradicated. It does not matter whether or not we have any involvement in the Middle East. If we turned our backs completely on Israel – which I believe the president would like to do – Islamic militants would still come after us.

The proof can be seen in what has happened of late. I believe another reason why Obama’s words were so forced Wednesday is because the entire speech was a wholesale admission that his foreign policy – the very policy upon which he has in large part built his presidency – was wrong. He was wrong. His advisors were wrong. His party was wrong. A large part of his administration hinged upon getting American troops out of Iraq. He did as he promised. And what happened? The entire nation collapsed in instability. In the resulting carnage, ISIS emerged and flexed its growing muscle. It was a slap in the face to the president and to every American. Obama has tried to distance himself from the previous administration as much as possible. But the Bush-Cheney administration was right on when it came to matters of the Middle East. The president’s speech on Wednesday was an admission to the entire nation that he was wrong. We were going to have to re-engage the enemy, much to his chagrin.

As you were listening to what he said, did you happen to notice what he didn’t say? President Obama never outlined a strategy for success. He said we will strike from the air but we won’t put soldiers on the ground. We will lead a multi-national force that will uproot ISIS and the other such groups. We will not, however, send in large numbers of American troops to accomplish the mission.

President Obama is setting us up to fail. Though he tries as hard as he can to differentiate himself from Bush, he is headed down an even slipperier slope. I do not like war. I do not want to see our brave young men and women put their lives on the line. But we have been threatened. In front of the whole world, we have been mocked and taunted. In the past, we would have responded quickly, decisively, and with totality. Now, we are politicizing the conflict and tying the hands of the American military in a time when our sovereignty is being ridiculed.

I was not impressed with the president’s speech just as I am not impressed with the president. I do not believe his personal convictions are in line with the words he spoke Wednesday. And because of that, as we recognize the 13th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack in our nation’s history, we are more vulnerable and in more danger than ever before.

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