- - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

President Obama is once again fighting from behind. He left Iraq in a mess and is trying to goose the country into some sort of order, but is instead leaving our people decapitated by the Islamic State.

Mr. Obama’s “speaking up” for slain journalist James Foley is galling. He has said the Islamic State “speaks for no religion.” Gee, I don’t think it was Jews, Christians or Hindus who decapitated Mr. Foley. The killers are of the Muslim religion through and through. It’s time Mr. Obama quit being afraid of that fact and had the courage to call these monsters what they are: butchers.

It’s true that the Islamic State’s victims are mostly Muslim, but that doesn’t do Mr. Foley or his grieving family any good. When Gen. David H. Petraeus was surging through Iraq, we were looking at a semipeaceful democracy. Mr. Obama pulled the troops out and chaos erupted. He pretended that his retreat was in the interest of peace when it ended up in war.

Nice men do bad deeds. I can’t look at Mr. Obama without seeing a deathly, careless person, an all-powerful male version of Daisy Buchanan of “The Great Gatsby.”

DAVID LAWRENCE

New York