The mind-numbing brutality of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has riveted the world. The militants have seized control of vast areas of Syria and Iraq and now are turning their threats toward Western Europe and the United States. Beheadings and other atrocities are accelerating at an alarming rate.
U.S. House and Senate intelligence committee leaders on Sunday challenged President Obama to come up with a plan to crush the militants. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., warned that if the militants are not dealt with soon there could be attacks on the U.S. and our European allies.
On Friday, British officials raised the country’s terror threat level to its second-highest level. On Monday, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council unanimously approved nearly $1.2 million to investigate crimes against civilians committed by the group.
While Americans are understandably wary of ending up in another war in that part of the world, this fight will surely come to our borders. The ferocity of these well-funded and technologically savvy fighters makes it clear they need to be stopped in their tracks. But how?
By now Americans know that foreign policy and strategy aren’t the president’s strong suits. Scattering olive branches across the Middle East and northern Africa didn’t work well. Drawing a red line in the sand in Syria didn’t work so well, either. Even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to get it better than Obama. Clinton’s assessment: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
That said, on Thursday Obama said there was no strategy for dealing with the Iraq/Syria crisis. While the president needs to take some time off for recreation every now and then, his administration should still be running at top speed.
This is not a brand-new crisis. Islamic State has been running wild for months. If the Obama administration has not come up with a strategy, it sure should get moving on one. The American people, as well as the rest of the world, need to know what it is.
And, whatever strategy is developed, it should be one that makes ISIS take notice with trepidation.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.