WASHINGTON, February 16, 2015 – Americans are having an increasingly difficult time trying to judge the magnitude of the evil of ISIS and the threat that organization may have to freedom around the world. President Obama seems to give conflicting information. In a recent speech, former President Bush gave some interesting and realistic insight into the face of evil and the threats to freedom.
President Obama and National Security adviser Susan Rice assure us that the threat is not serious. They insist that the media has made much more of the threat than actually exists.
This seems to be in conflict with what military leaders and all three of the President’s Secretaries of Defense have said. They note that the threat is very serious and must be dealt with more forcibly.
As Americans, we look to our leaders for answers. The highest priority for our federally elected government officials is to keep Americans safe and secure. We want an honest, objective analysis of every possible security threat.
We recall how shaken we were on September 11, 2001 and how we vowed that it will never happen again even if that meant a number of frustrating inconveniences and lifestyle changes.
Last week, at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, former President George W. Bush gave a speech. The audio of that speech was available to those outside of the auditorium. Although Mr. Bush did not comment directly about Obama’s recent war powers request, he did speak about why the US must confront the enemy.
“Evil is real.” He said, “Murdering innocent people to move their political point of view has been, is and always is, evil.” He then continued, saying that from the US standpoint, “One of the real dangers is an isolationist tendency.” And then he said that the evil people will “strike in order to frighten those of us who…you know…believe in freedom.”
While many view Bush as simply a President who was ready to start a war anywhere and everywhere, especially where oil interests were concerned, the reality is that he viewed military action as the last option, but always a viable option. In 2003, when he made the decision to invade Iraq, he gave what he believed was an honest assessment based on the information available to him.
At the time, more than 90% of the public supported his action. It later turned out that some of the information that Colin Powell and he received regarding weapons of mass destruction was not completely accurate. Still, when Bush spoke we believed him and we were ready to follow his leadership, since it was Bush that helped this nation regain its confidence after that terrible 9/11 tragedy.
Today his voice is welcomed. Congress is about to start debating the war powers that President Obama has requested. Obama has asked for a limited amount of time to confront ISIS on a limited basis, requesting the use of force but specifically eliminating the use of any ground troops. Congress should have rigorous debate on his request since many see it as going too far while still others view it as not going far enough.
Some of the differences between members of Congress come from differing views about America’s role in the world. But much of the difference comes from the members not having a clear, objective and accurate view of their current situation. In addition, many are unsure of what the long term implications would be from taking or not taking specific actions. The conflicting views of the President and of his administration, add to the confusion.
The President really needs to provide strong leadership. In the last 12 months his view of the ISIS threat has changed repeatedly. This has become so confusing that it is difficult to rely on any analysis that he offers.
President Bush concluded his speech by saying that it is possible to become long term allies and friends with groups that follow a brutal warlike philosophy. Even the most brutal do have the capacity to change noting that his father told him that he joined the military to fight an imperialistic Japan. That country has now embraced Democracy and become one of our strongest allies.
It would benefit the entire country if President Obama could be more like President Bush and give us an honest assessment, confront the enemy and develop a long term strategy for peace. As leader of the free world, that is his most important responsibility.