Jordanians, after watching a televised video of one of their own fighter pilots being doused with gasoline and burned to death, learned very quickly that their monarch, King Abdullah, shared their outrage. Jordan immediately executed the two radical Islamist terrorists that they had in custody.

One of the executed terrorists, Sajida al-Rishawi, a woman suicide-bomber, was the person that ISIS had been demanding be released and exchanged for Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh, the murdered pilot. The other terrorist executed on the King’s order was Zaid al-Karbouly. Both terrorists were affiliated with al Qaeda, and not ISIS, but for King Abdullah, that was close enough for jazz.

The Jordanian military followed up on the executions with bombing runs over ISIS installations. The only thing holding Jordan back from a more forceful response is a lack of weaponry. While Senator John McCain has issued a statement indicating that the King “needs some types of weapons very badly,” and that “we’ll be working immediately to try to achieve that for him,” McCain isn’t the President, and it is unclear how much assistance Jordan will be receiving.

Barack Obama, who is President, spoke out after the burning of the pilot at a prayer breakfast, and he focused on reminding his listeners that similar acts of brutality were committed in the name of Christianity during the Crusades. The President’s main concern seemed to be that Americans, and people in Western countries generally, not get on their “high-horse” (Obama’s term) over the brutal slaying.

The speech resembled less the message of a President than the message of a professor, and not a very good professor at that. The Crusades, while indeed conducted brutally, began as a response to Islamic atrocities committed against Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land by Muslims.

A bit more to the point, one cannot imagine a speech from an American President that would be more welcome to ISIS’s collective ears. ISIS has already seen our President negotiate with the Taliban for the release of Bowe Bergdahl, an extraordinary level of appeasement that was committed to reclaim a soldier who has now, following his return to the U.S., been charged with desertion.

If America had in office a president with King Abdullah’s backbone, it is hard to believe that the world would be seeing totalitarian forces advancing so cavalierly across Ukraine, Syria, Western Iraq, Nigeria (under Boko Haram), Libya, and elsewhere. Nor would it have necessarily required a major or prolonged commitment of ground troops to restrain this march of tyranny. Although it may now.

King Abdullah, by the way, has chosen this assertive course of action at considerable domestic risk. ISIS has very real support within Jordan, a country that is broadly Sunni, as is ISIS, and that has always had its own homegrown radical Islamists. Nevertheless, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., after speaking with King Abdullah, confirmed that the monarch was committed to attacking ISIS with all his country’s might. “He said,” Hunter indicated, “that there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen…He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”

The contrast between the real leadership being provided by King Abdullah, and the professorial lassitude of our own President, is stark.


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