If the president were truly sentient, he would not be content to enumerate the macrophysics of what we have done: "[O]ur progress has been unmistakable... [W]e've disrupted terrorist financing, cut off recruiting chains, inflicted major losses on Al Qaeda's leadership, thwarted plots here in the United States, and saved countless American lives." Yes, I suppose, all true. Some of this may have to be wrapped in the clouds. I do not insist on the right to know. Perhaps some especially fervent civil libertarians will go to law for discovery.
But what has been the animating motive for the terrorist efforts to dispose of Americans and Europeans, Hindus and Christians, Jews and non-believers, and, of course, Muslims, albeit from antagonistic or divergent sects--infidels and heretics, really--in the religious vocabulary? It is an ideological certainty laced through the Islamic tradition and the Islamic present.Were Obama truly sentient, he would have said, "The 'terrorists'--a.k.a. jihadis--are motivated by dreams of Islamic supremacism captured succintly in the line "jihad is the way, sharia is the goal." Or words to that effect. But since "truly sentient" is exactly what he isn't, these itsy-bitsy baby steps are the best anyone can hope for or expect.