Has President Barack Obama gotten a single briefing on the nature of Islamism in the nearly seven years he’s occupied the Oval Office?
Considering what he said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Philippines Wednesday morning, it doesn’t sound like it.
“When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians should be admitted, that’s offensive,” he declared. “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate.”
The president’s comment is stunning for a couple of reasons. For starters, it’s not true. It’s hard to imagine that a single person will join ISIS mainly because of the debate in the U.S. over whether we should accept Syrian refugees, or what type of refugees we should accept.
But it also suggests we should change our actions just because ISIS may be able to use them to recruit more members. Should we stop educating girls because it offends ISIS and may help it with recruitment? Should we abandon Israel because it offends ISIS and may help it with recruitment? Should we shut down Hollywood because the movies it produces offends ISIS and may help it with recruitment?
Should we not stand up for the Christians ISIS is slaughtering or the Yazidi girls ISIS it is enslaving because those stands probably offend the terror group and may help it with recruitment?
Should we stop drone strikes against terrorists because it offends ISIS and may help it with recruitment?
Are we now going to run our lives and control our debates over what may or may not theoretically help ISIS with recruitment?
In reality, one of the most potent recruitment tools for ISIS is the perception that it is winning. The more successful terror attacks it is able to stage, the longer it is able to control vast swaths of territory, the more radical Muslims will want to join what is perceived to be a winning team to create the first Caliphate in nearly 100 years.
You know who has a little say in hampering this recruiting tool? Could it be the man in charge of the most powerful military in human history?
Developing a coherent strategy to deliver a crippling blow to ISIS would do far more to hurt ISIS’s recruitment program than abandoning our debate over what to do about Syrian refugees.
But President Obama appears too busy demagoguing Republicans to bother himself with that.