President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 200,000 civilians but stopped a war that had already killed tens of millions and could have wiped out millions more.
In contrast, President Obama has severely restricted bombing of Islamic State targets, on the grounds that taking out such targets could lead to dozens of civilian casualties at locations such as the ISIS command center in Raqqa, Syria.
More broadly, Mr. Obama has refused to take steps to wipe out ISIS with ground troops and has claimed his current plan would defeat ISIS over a matter of years. In the meantime, ISIS is growing and successfully launching attacks on innocent civilians. With its more than $1 billion in wealth, ISIS has no doubt already hired top scientists to develop biological, chemical and radiological weapons that could wipe out millions of Americans in cities like Washington and New York. In addition, ISIS could hire experts to orchestrate an electromagnetic pulse attack that could wipe out all of our electronics, leading to the deaths of millions of Americans from starvation and catapulting the country back to the 14th century.
The United States spends $600 billion a year on the military. What is it for, if it is not to eliminate this existential threat?
If you want to know why Mr. Obama is so blind to the need to decisively eliminate that threat, look at his decision to appoint Joseph P. Clancy, a career agent, to head the Secret Service. As detailed in my book “The First Family Detail,” Mr. Clancy had already shown himself to be a cover-up artist. When he was acting director, Mr. Clancy bobbed and weaved at a House Judiciary Committee hearing when asked whether anyone would be held accountable for making false statements to the press about the spectacular intrusion at the White House by Omar J. Gonzalez.
Even though the Secret Service knew immediately that Gonzalez had penetrated the White House and was armed with a knife, Mr. Clancy never batted an eye when he insisted that the Secret Service did not intentionally issue the false information that Gonzalez was stopped at the White House door and was unarmed. Yet when asked how he knew the lies were not intentional, Mr. Clancy admitted he had no idea how or why the false statements were made.
Mr. Obama’s own all-star, four-person panel recommended that he appoint a new director from outside the agency to shake it up and change the management culture that has led to repeated scandals and security breaches at the once vaunted Secret Service. But Mr. Obama ignored the advice and instead named Mr. Clancy as the new director. In doing so, the president guaranteed that the scandals would continue, placing his own life and the lives of his family members in jeopardy.
Secret Service agents tell me that given Mr. Clancy’s refusal to change the culture that condones cutting corners and punishes agents who report security problems, it’s a miracle there has not already been a tragic assassination.
Mr. Obama’s decision to appoint Mr. Clancy and pooh-pooh all the warnings was a decision that had nothing to do with political considerations. It had to do purely with Mr. Obama’s own personal safety and the safety of his wife and two daughters. Yet Mr. Obama acted like a teenager who has not yet learned about danger and risk. That is the heart of Mr. Obama’s problem: Like former New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who almost lost his life in an accident when he went speeding down the New Jersey Turnpike at 91 miles per hour without wearing a seat belt, Mr. Obama thinks he is immortal.
The same obtuseness applies to the president’s decision to welcome to the United States 10,000 Syrian refugees. Even in the U.S., the FBI often has trouble determining the intentions of possible terrorist suspects. In Syria, there is virtually no way to obtain reliable information about the population.
FBI Director James Comey has acknowledged the problem, saying to members of Congress, “If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.” Yet Mr. Obama has implied that those who oppose bringing in the refugees are heartless and un-American.
In contrast to Mr. Obama’s insistence on admitting Syrian refugees, we have seen no sign of his concern for humanity over Saddam Hussein’s murders of 300,000 of his own people. Indeed, instead of hailing President Bush’s decision to take out Saddam and stop the killing of civilians, Mr. Obama vilifies the former president and attacks the Republicans and Democrats who oppose taking the risk of admitting to this country possible additional terrorists posing as refugees.
Beyond not understanding danger, much like his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Obama is sincerely convinced that America is the bad guy. For more than 20 years, he listened to Rev. Wright’s anti-America, anti-white, anti-Israel sermons. Rev. Wright blamed America for starting the AIDS virus to kill off blacks, training professional killers, importing drugs and creating a racist society that would never elect a black man as president.
My most liberal family members and friends have told me they would have walked out if they heard such hate speech. But Mr. Obama not only listened, he exposed his children to Rev. Wright’s bigotry and said he considered him a friend and mentor.
Now as president, Mr. Obama never misses a chance to apologize to the rest of the world for America’s alleged failings while allowing ISIS to flourish by withdrawing U.S. presence from Iraq. And by choosing to limit attacks on ISIS targets to avoid collateral damage, Mr. Obama favors Syrian and Iraqi civilians over American and European civilians who have already been murdered or potentially will be murdered in ISIS attacks.
A year ago, Mr. Obama said it will take three years to defeat ISIS. In the meantime, because of the president’s lack of leadership, we could all become its victims.
• Ronald Kessler is the author of “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents” (Crown Forum, 2015).