Following President Barack Obama’s brazen announcement that his administration has yet to come up with a strategy to respond to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists gaining ground in the Middle East, British Prime Minister David Cameron called the ISIS gains a “greater and deeper threat to security than we have known” in an address to his countrymen.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse: we don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said of how the U.S. would respond to ISIS advances in Syria. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”
The statement quickly caused a political uproar.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday urged the president to “exercise some leadership” and present a regional strategy to Congress.
“The President needs to present this plan to the Congress, and the American people, and where the President believes he lacks authority to execute such a strategy, he needs to explain to the Congress how additional authority for the use of force will protect America,” McConnell said in a statement.
Others took the president to task on social media.
The White House has since been engaged in damage control, with press secretary Josh Earnest claiming that the White House does have a broad “comprehensive strategy” for fighting ISIS, just not Syria-specific plans.
“The reason for that is simply that the Pentagon is still developing that plan and (Obama) is still reviewing it,” Earnest said Friday.
Meanwhile, Britain’s prime minister said that the ISIS advances are a direct threat to UK and other western countries.
“The ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat to our own security here in the UK,” he said.
Cameron announced that his country raised its terror threat level to “severe,” its second highest spot.
The British actions contrast sharply with the stance that American officials have taken with regard to the ISIS threat. Earlier this week, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that there was no indication that ISIS is plotting attacks against the U.S.
“I can tell you with great clarity and certainty that if that threat existed inside of Syria that it would certainly be my strong recommendation that we would deal with it,” he said. “I have every confidence that the president of the United States would deal with it.”
Officials at the U.S. State Department have taken a similar stance, claiming that there was no indication that ISIS—a group bent on forming an Islamic caliphate— is religiously motivated or bent on attacking the U.S.
“This is not about [ISIS] versus the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “They are killing anyone who gets in their way: Sunnis, Shia Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, Iraqis, Syrians, anyone who gets in their way — and now an American.”
“So this is not about what the United States is or isn’t doing,” Harf continued. “This is about [ISIS] stated a commitment to murder, rape, enslave people who don’t agree with their ideology and who get in their way.”
She later added, “[T]hey can say whatever they’d like, but what I am making clear is that’s not what ISIL represents. And they don’t represent any religion. They are at war with everybody they come into contact with.”
Compare that with what Cameron said Friday: “The terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq war 10 years ago. It existed even before the horrific attacks on 9/11, themselves some time before the war.
“This threat cannot be solved simply by dealing with perceived grievances over Western foreign policy,” he added. “Nor can it be dealt with by addressing poverty, dictatorship or instability in the region – as important as these things are.
“The root cause of this threat to our security is quite clear. It is a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and faith leaders.”
Someone is getting it wrong— and we’re guessing it’s the guy whose administration hasn’t come to terms with the fact that radical Islam breeds terrorists and hasn’t worried over a strategy to stop them.
UPDATE: Reports: Terror Attack From Southern Border ‘Imminent’