One does not need to be Sun Tzu or George Patton to know that a nation must recognize an enemy before it can develop a strategy to defeat it. But one apparently does have to be someone other than President Barack Obama.
Since he took office, Obama has spent considerable energy trying to convince us how peaceful and magnificent the religion of Islam is and how exceptional acts of terrorism springing from it are.
He has also been telling us in words and deeds that such terrorism can best be prevented by overtures of peace and good will toward Islam, understanding that the root cause of this violence is poverty, and developing an action plan to address it.
That means the United States must downsize its military, because our sheer strength and power constitutes a threat — a provocation to the rest of the world. It means that we must pursue "economic justice," a wretched euphemism for undermining our capitalist system and redistributing our wealth at home and abroad.
But even Obama's stalwart supporters in the liberal media now understand that this man doesn't have a clue about how to deal with threats to the United States. He is highly proficient at campaigning, community organizing, partisan agitating and ordering underlings to carry out his agenda, but he is psychologically incapable of attending to the details himself and appears to have no interest in actual governance beyond setting his statist goals and issuing his implementation orders.
Obama either can't focus on high-level problems he didn't anticipate in connection with his various utopian schemes or is so narcissistic that he rides around blindly in his golf cart like Mr. Magoo, wholly unaware of the damage he's done to his own reputation as a serious, engaged and thoughtful person.
I do mean "utopian." He mistakenly believed that his stimulus would work like a magic elixir to send the economy to new heights (or he knew better and it was a ruse to redistribute funds to his political cronies and funnel money to his pet projects). He believed that his beloved Obamacare was a panacea for improving the quality and affordability of health care (or he knew better and it was a Trojan horse for establishing governmental control over all aspects of our lives). He thought he could achieve world peace by withdrawing our forces from foreign entanglements — even without plans to preserve the order — making nice speeches about Islam, removing the term "terrorist" from our vocabulary (except for its application to tea partyers), instituting a "reset" with Russia, whatever that means, and downsizing our military and defense systems (and there's no indication at all that he knew better on this one).
But here we are, after his insistence that al-Qaida was on the run and that the Islamic State is the JV squad, watching an Islamic caliphate proliferate in front of our eyes in the Levant.
Even if hard reality is finally forcing Obama to grudgingly recognize the threat the Islamic State represents to the Middle East, he still refuses to believe or admit it represents a danger to the United States, especially with the porousness of the border he has made sure to effectuate.
It's not just his reckless naivete but his compulsion to place his political self-interests above the national interests that inhibits him from publicly acknowledging the magnitude of the threats we are facing. In his mind, to make such an admission is tantamount to conceding that he was wrong and that his policies have exacerbated these threats — and that's a charitable assessment. That's why he reportedly dragged his feet for a month before approving a rescue attempt on American journalist James Foley. That, and he didn't want to risk a Jimmy Carter-type failure — again because he cares more about his political image than the problems he is duty-bound to address.
Even if Obama is willfully blind to the enormity of the threat, sentient Americans not similarly blinded by his ideology have to be disturbed by what we're witnessing in the world.
The Islamic State is massacring Christians, beheading American journalists, surging toward the borders of Turkey, marching across the Middle East with the swiftness of Alexander the Great and brazenly boasting that it is inside America, poised to attack. Islamist forces have taken control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and seized an airport there. They have captured a key Syrian air base near the Iraqi border. The Pentagon is saying the Islamic State threat is "beyond anything we've seen."
Meanwhile, Obama has been riding around in his golf cart, which might as well sport a bumper sticker of Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman saying, "What, me worry?"
Honestly, I have been horrified by Obama's lawlessness, his destructive domestic policies leading to a permanently anemic economy and workforce, his staggering debt expansions, and his horrendous taxing, spending, regulatory and health care policies. But these foreign and domestic terror threats, along with the border invasion, may even be more troublesome.
I hate to be negative, and I refuse to be pessimistic, but anyone not alarmed by current events is in some physical, mental or emotional state I am powerless to comprehend.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel," will be released Sept. 8. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.