“THESE are the times that try men’s souls.”
This opening line from Thomas Paine’s ‘The American Crisis” seems fitting in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Paris.
Thomas Paine believed that a war against Great Britain was a just and honorable undertaking. At the same time he understood that the colonists were not going to support the American Revolutionary War without proper reason. His sixteen pamphlets were intended to explain the issues at hand and to inspire the town folk to take up arms against Britain in support of those issues.
Fast forward to today. The French have just been dealt the most debilitating blow that humanity can deliver…the senseless massacre of innocents. The French people are frightened and looking for leadership. As is so often the case; those eyes turn toward the United States.
Unfortunately, it appears that those in this country who seek the mantle of leadership are not up to the task.
The Republican response to attacks in Paris has been both irresponsible and tone deaf.
Donald Trump’s response to the ISIS attack would be to: 1.) close down all of the mosques in the US and 2.) “Bomb the s**t out of them (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.” Ben Carson would close all of our borders to anyone from the region. “Jeb!” Bush would “send in 200,000 American troops, eliminate ISIS, and then pull out.”
Apparently Mr. Trump is unaware that we have been bombing ISIS for the better part of a year to little affect and closing down the mosques would only fan the inferno of hatred that is raging through the region.
Dr. Carson is apparently unaware that racial profiling is frowned upon in this country; and like Trump’s strategy, would only serve as a recruiting tool for the caliphate.
Finally, we have Jeb Bush. The former Florida governor would have us follow the same failed strategy that led us to where we are today. We sent the military in to eliminate the Taliban. The Taliban have returned. We sent the military in to eliminate Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has returned with vengeance in the form of ISIS. Governor Bush, much like his brother, fails to understand that a military strategy cannot produce a long lasting peace unless it includes a long term diplomatic component.
Then we have President Obama.
The president held his first press conference since the attack. It was expected that this normally inspirational president would call on the world to rally in support of France and take the fight to ISIS. Instead he went off in an angry, petulant and dismissive rant against his Republican detractors and the press. He scolded those who would “pop off” in criticism of his efforts, challenged detractors to offer better alternatives and dismissed those who would use the opportunity to score political points: “I don’t have time for this.” If the world was looking for inspirational leadership from this president, this was neither the time nor the place.
ISIS is a real and present danger to western civilization. Like it or not the world is once again looking to the Unites States for leadership.
Unfortunately, the world’s lone super power has offered little more than a “leadership void.”