Yesterday, President Barack Obama made a speech about a menace overseas that threatens the future well-being of our nation and laid out his plans to react decisively. He said:
[T]he world is looking to us, the United States, and it’s a responsibility that we embrace. We’re prepared to take leadership on this to provide the kinds of capabilities that only America has, and to mobilize the world in ways that only America can do. That’s what we’re doing as we speak.
He also observed that we are sending 3,000 American troops to deal head-on with the crisis.
In other words, he is putting “boots on the ground.” But not in Iraq or Syria to face down the existential threat posed by ISIS. Rather, he is committing U.S. military to the war on Ebola in West Africa.
This scourge, he noted, has claimed more than 2,400 men, women, and children. That’s less than half the number of men, women, and children ISIS had slaughtered by mid-July.
So is the rationale behind this seeming misplaced priority that Ebola is more deadly? Not by the president’s lights. In his speech, he said:
Here’s what gives us hope. The world knows how to fight this disease. It’s not a mystery. We know the science. We know how to prevent it from spreading. We know how to care for those who contract it.
He went on to allow as how we have to move fast, but isn’t the clock also ticking in the case of ISIS, which has already identified its next beheading victim?
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that the Ebola epidemic needs to be addressed. I applaud Obama’s decision to deploy members of the U.S. Public Health Service field hospitals that are being setting up in Liberia.
Where I fault him is in his refusal to take similarly decisive action against ISIS because returning to the battlefield in Iraq after declaring the war there “over” will reflect badly on his legacy. The saddest part is that he still believes Americans aren’t seeing his naked political posturing for what it is.