Still A JV Team After All These Months

DATELINE: Amateurville, February 10 – The Obama Administration’s response to the ISIS threat should be a tired subject by now. And it would be except for the deepening tragedy of it all. We learned this week that, despite the denials, Obama has never given up on his assessment of the murdering horde as a JV team.


Back in January 2014, the President gave ISIS the junior varsity label to underscore the minimal nature of the threat. Unlike bin Laden, who executed attacks on the U.S. homeland, the boys in the hoods were all about local power struggles and sectarian disputes. By September, Obama was forced to publically walk back his assessment after the Foley beheading and the brickbats of criticism.


But, a short four days ago, Susan Rice, our fleckless National Security Advisor, was back on the it’s-a-local-problem bandwagon. Specifically, she denied that ISIS is an existential threat to the United States. She probably meant a threat to our survival rather a reference to the philosophy of the whats and wherefores of human existence. But, after the White House remarks on the death of Kayla Mueller, that’s not a sure bet. Assuming she did mean our survival, denying an existential threat is just another way of diminishing the ISIS reach.


On Monday, the Vox media website posted an interview of President Obama conducted a few weeks ago. It’s been hammered as a yawning waste of time. But, there are a couple of interesting tidbits that Obama decided to share.


One of them is his view that the ISIS threat is significantly exaggerated by the media in its never-ending battle for ratings. According to the President, local news is all about crime and fires while International news is all about terrorism, dysfunction, chaos and plane crashes. If it bleeds, it leads. In other words, what plays on the nightly news isn’t newsworthy.


At least the President and Susan Rice are reading the same playbook. But, then, they’re pretty JV themselves.


In an oddly personal blog, the White House today announced the death of 26 year-old, Kayla Mueller. Ms. Mueller was an aid worker in Syria who was taken captive by ISIS five months before Obama airballed the JV team label. ISIS claimed she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike carried out last week in reprisal for the immolation of its pilot. There’s no way to confirm that claim or even determine when Ms. Mueller died. In its benediction, the White House blog stated,


“On this day, we take comfort in the fact that the future belongs not to those who destroy, but rather to the irrepressible force of human goodness that Kayla Mueller shall forever represent.”


Unfortunately, her considerable force for good was repressed with extreme prejudice. Uplifting thoughts and individual good works, no matter how outstanding, aren’t much of a roadblock to heavily armed, determined evil. The future belongs to those who seize, not cede, it.