“ISIS is contained” is the new “American tanks are not in Baghdad” of 2015.
In the throes of a tight re-election campaign in October of 2012, President Barack Obama declared that al Qaeda was “on the run.” In one sense, he was right: al Qaeda was running into the arms of ISIS, which was running wild in the Middle East. But his intended implication–that his policies had routed the terrorists, rendered them incapable of hurting Americans, and as a result made America safer from the threat of terrorist attack–was demonstrably false.
In an interview with ABC News the day before deadly terrorist attacks in Paris which killed 130 people and injured scores more, Obama famous declared that ISIS had been “contained” due to his administration’s policies.
On Wednesday, while the San Bernardino terrorists were still at large, Obama told CBS News in a taped interview that America was safe from the threat of ISIS attacks.
“The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives,” Obama said.
As a result of Wednesday’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, at least 14 people will most certainly not be going about their lives, nor will their families and friends be enjoying a “good holiday” this year. On Friday, just a day after Obama’s ISIS comments were aired, law enforcement officials disclosed that one of the San Bernardino terrorists had pledged allegiance to ISIS on her personal Facebook page.
In other words, the 44th American president is now our very own Baghdad Bob. He is a man clinging so desperately to his narrative–terrorists are on the run because I ended the war in Iraq and killed bin Laden–that no amount of facts or evidence could possibly convince him his narrative might be wrong, even as that narrative is unraveling in real-time before his very eyes:
In March of 2003, Saddam’s Minister of Information was everybody’s favorite inadvertent comedian. Sporting a kicky black beret and delightfully bombastic lexicon, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf appeared on TV daily to predict American failure and deny the Baghdad invasion–sometimes even as U.S. tanks appeared behind him. “He’s great,” President George W. Bush said of Sahaf, admitting that he occasionally interrupted meetings to watch Sahaf’s briefings. “Someone accused us of hiring him and putting him there. He was a classic.”
Sahaf became the subject of T-shirts, mugs, adoring websites, a pop song, and an action figure. Besides adding levity to news cycles otherwise filled with fuzzy green explosions, Sahaf represented everything that made Iraq’s invasion seem not quite like a real war. Wars are serious, and this guy was adorable. Even if you opposed the Iraq invasion, you had to admit it’s hard to respect a government whose official mouthpiece told a reporter, “Shock and awe? It seems that we are the awe on them. They are suffering from the shock and awe, okay?”
We all laughed at Baghdad Bob at the time, because what kind of delusional apparatchik would declare that there are no America tanks in Baghdad when American tanks can be seen in the background rolling through Baghdad? Baghdad Bob was funny, because Baghdad Bob was not in charge of protecting us. He was in charge of protecting Saddam Hussein.
But when your own president engages in the same absurd behavior–declaring that ISIS is contained while the group was planning a devastating attack in Paris that it would launch the very next day, or declaring that America is safe from the terrorist threat of ISIS while a terrorist who had pledged allegiance to ISIS was on the run from police after assisting in the execution of at least 14 completely innocent people at an office party in California–it’s not even remotely amusing. It’s terrifying.
And it’s not just Obama. This disease of delusion has spread to members of his cabinet as well.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino that her “greatest fear” was not future deadly terrorist attacks against innocent Americans. Instead, Lynch said her “greatest fear” was that there might be an anti-Muslim backlash as a result of the terrorist attacks. She then transitioned into a discussion about the need for America to accept more refugees from the Middle East, according to Politico, which covered her remarks at a Muslim Advocates dinner event on Thursday. She did not mention during her remarks that one of the San Bernardino terrorists was an immigrant with a Pakistani passport who had passed a Department of Homeland Security background check prior to being admitted into the U.S.
This is madness.
Barack Obama refused to admit that Americans are most certainly not safe from the threat of ISIS attack, even while ISIS apostles were murdering American citizens in California. The White House refuses to admit that ISIS, an acronym in which the very first letter stands for “Islamic,” is driven by a devotion to a radical interpretation of Islam that declares all infidels must be slaughtered by faithful Muslims in service of Allah. This is not foreign policy. It is a deadly form of political schizophrenia that has all but crippled the president’s ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. “ISIS is not Islamic” and “Americans are nowhere near Baghdad” are two sides of the same delusional coin.
Our president has decided that his narrative is more important than our safety. That his legacy is more important than our security. Extreme Islamic terrorists are not “on the run.” ISIS is not “contained.” And America is not safe from the threat of future terrorist attacks from ISIS and its radical Islamic adherents.
That is the reality of 2015, whether Baghdad Barack wishes to acknowledge it or not.