WSJ Editorial: Will Obama Do What it Takes to Defeat ISIS?

Image: WSJ Editorial: Will Obama Do What it Takes to Defeat ISIS? (Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images)

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 09:56 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama's condemnation of the beheading of American journalist James Foley was passionate, but leaves the world wondering just he plans to do about the murder, The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial.

Further, the paper said that Obama can't blame the current problems on former President George W. Bush, as the spread of the Islamic State, or ISIS, is occurring on his watch.

"Obama must get over his political fixation on ending Mr. Bush's wars and admit that his country must fight again in Iraq," the Journal's editorial board said. "America already is at war again fighting ISIS in Iraq. Mr. President, we share your disgust for James Foley's killers. What we need to know is whether you are willing to do what it takes to defeat these enemies of America and a civilized world."

The nation knows that Obama can show empathy, and can express outrage, the editorial said, but "what we don't know is if he can muster the will and fortitude to defeat an enemy that is growing in strength and danger on his watch."

On Wednesday, Obama said ISIS has been rampaging across cities and villages and killing innocent civilians while murdering thousands of Muslims, both Sunni and Shia. In addition, they target religious minorities and Christians, he said.

"All of this is horribly true," the Journal editorialized.  "It was also true a year ago. The question now — what the world wants to know now, Mr. President — is what are you going to do about it?"

James Foley's beheading will show the threat ISIS poses to the United States and the Middle East, because Foley was killed because he was an American, the Journal said.

Foley was taken prisoner in Syria two years ago and "may have been kept alive precisely for this kind of public execution," the Journal said.

The same video that showed Foley being killed also showed American freelance journalist Steven Sotloff and said his fate depends on Obama's "next decision" on airstrikes targeting ISIS.

But thinking the attacks will only target journalists is "folly," the Journal editorialized.

ISIS "knows American power is the greatest threat to its dreams of a regional caliphate stretching from Lebanon to Kuwait," the newspaper's editorial board said. "The jihadists know they are at war against America."

ISIS won't fail on its own because of Obama and a "progressive vision that mankind has finally in the 21st century reached some higher level of being," the Journal editorialized. "Like every evil in human history, ISIS will stop only when it is forced to stop. This means only when enough of its fanatics have been killed."

The paper agrees with Obama that there will have to be a concerted effort against ISIS, and America can't act alone.

"But the lesson of the last century is that a coalition of the willing forms only when America leads," the Journal's editorial board said. "The main reason that ISIS has advanced so far has been the U.S. failure to act against it."

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