Campaigner in chief

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


SEPT. 24, 2014 -- You don't go to war killing people and getting killed -- reluctantly. Willing to fight always beats reluctance.

Here, President Obama is trying to organize the country, organize Congress, organize the government in Iraq, organize the Iraqi army, train the moderates, train the reluctant, and announcing that the United States doesn't intend to fight on the ground. That's organizing a political campaign, not organizing a war.

He tries to cover himself politically with today's headline in the Wall Street Journal (9/24/14) "U.S. Promises Long Campaign in Syria". Barack Obama is the constant campaigner. He studies the polls and has become the Campaigner in Chief. Treating ISIS as a political campaign won't do - particularly if it involves religion.

In Saudi Arabia there's no freedom of religion or separation of church and state. The Wahhabi schools, the Salafi institution, is financed by the government and teaches intolerance. It teaches that other Muslims, who are not Salafis, are not really Muslim. In the ninth grade in Saudi Arabia, all children are taught that Christians and Jews are infidels and ought to be eliminated - to be killed. We call ISIS "Sunni militants" (New York Times, 8/12/14) or "Sunni extremists" (New York Times, 8/5/14), but ISIS is only fighting what they've learned in the ninth grade. There are many of these Salafis scattered in the Mideast, and they enthusiastically finance ISIS. Fighting the religious only makes the religious more determined.

ISIS is moving faster than President Obama's organizing and training. The only course is to nip ISIS in the bud. Drop SEALs or Special Forces into the two headquarters of ISIS in Syria, kill off the leadership, and then round up the disorganized in Syria and Iraq. It won't be short, but it won't be three years, as has been announced. There ought to be a class or course in the Presidency where President Obama could learn. He would make a good President.

Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

Today, Hollings continues to be influential in public affairs and offers this website as a compendium of current and past positions on public issues. Learn more about Fritz Hollings.


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