In Oval Office speech, Obama offers the same policies that have allowed ISIS to grow

President Obama served up nothingburgers to the nation in a Sunday evening address from the Oval Office.  (Full text here).  The only people who would be reassured by what he had to say are those who share the president’s evident belief that saying words like “relentlessly pursue” will magically change the real world.

As far as strategy to destroy ISIS, there was nothing new.  The highlights (if that word applies):

First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure….

Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground….

Third, we’re working with friends and allies to stop ISIL’s operations — to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters….

Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process — and timeline — to pursue ceasefires and a political resolution to the Syrian war….

This is our strategy to destroy ISIL.

The president, as I predicted, tripled down on gun control, an excellent distraction to channel public discussion toward a contentious issue and away from his failures.

There were, however, some notable moments.  Perhaps the most important was acknowledging that there is a problem within Islam:

If we're to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. It's a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.

Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda promote. To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

But this was followed by preaching against Islamophobia.  David French of National Review had the appropriate reaction:

The very idea that our nation needs yet another lecture about discrimination is deeply disrespectful to the American people. After fourteen years of war against Islamic jihadists – at a cost of more than 60,000 American killed or wounded and countless thousands more suffering the lingering effects of difficult deployments — America is so tolerant of Islam that Jews — Jews! — face far more hate crimes than Muslims. When was the last time Jewish-Americans launched a deadly terror attack? The Jewish homeland is among our closest allies, matched only by countries like the United Kingdom. Yet America is less tolerant of Jews than Muslims. Americans have responded to large-scale Islamic terror and tens of thousands of broken bodies with remarkable grace and tolerance. The American people should be applauded, not lectured.

There was also a back-door admission that Fort Hood attack by Major Hasan was a terror attack, not “workplace violence”:

As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009; in Chattanooga earlier this year; and now in San Bernardino.

Considering that this was only the third Oval Office speech of Obama’s presidency, it was a wasted opportunity, one that make it even harder to him to gain the trust of the American people in our fight against the jihad threat.

In the unlikely event that any readers who didn’t watch the speech want to see it, here is the video:

President Obama served up nothingburgers to the nation in a Sunday evening address from the Oval Office.  (Full text here).  The only people who would be reassured by what he had to say are those who share the president’s evident belief that saying words like “relentlessly pursue” will magically change the real world.

As far as strategy to destroy ISIS, there was nothing new.  The highlights (if that word applies):

First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure….

Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground….

Third, we’re working with friends and allies to stop ISIL’s operations — to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters….

Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process — and timeline — to pursue ceasefires and a political resolution to the Syrian war….

This is our strategy to destroy ISIL.

The president, as I predicted, tripled down on gun control, an excellent distraction to channel public discussion toward a contentious issue and away from his failures.

There were, however, some notable moments.  Perhaps the most important was acknowledging that there is a problem within Islam:

If we're to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. It's a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.

Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda promote. To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

But this was followed by preaching against Islamophobia.  David French of National Review had the appropriate reaction:

The very idea that our nation needs yet another lecture about discrimination is deeply disrespectful to the American people. After fourteen years of war against Islamic jihadists – at a cost of more than 60,000 American killed or wounded and countless thousands more suffering the lingering effects of difficult deployments — America is so tolerant of Islam that Jews — Jews! — face far more hate crimes than Muslims. When was the last time Jewish-Americans launched a deadly terror attack? The Jewish homeland is among our closest allies, matched only by countries like the United Kingdom. Yet America is less tolerant of Jews than Muslims. Americans have responded to large-scale Islamic terror and tens of thousands of broken bodies with remarkable grace and tolerance. The American people should be applauded, not lectured.

There was also a back-door admission that Fort Hood attack by Major Hasan was a terror attack, not “workplace violence”:

As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009; in Chattanooga earlier this year; and now in San Bernardino.

Considering that this was only the third Oval Office speech of Obama’s presidency, it was a wasted opportunity, one that make it even harder to him to gain the trust of the American people in our fight against the jihad threat.

In the unlikely event that any readers who didn’t watch the speech want to see it, here is the video: