Joe Biden's "Gates Of Hell" Comments On ISIS Are Exactly What Obama Needed To Say
After the murder of 31-year-old journalist Steven Sotloff by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, it was Vice President Joe Biden — and not President Barack Obama — who flashed an iron fist on Wednesday. In an impassioned speech from a naval shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Biden vowed to follow ISIS to "the gates of hell" until justice is brought for the deaths of Sotloff and photojournalist James Foley. It's the strongest sentiment yet from an administration that has been criticized for being too soft on the terrorist group that's currently waging a violent war in Iraq and northern Syria.
Emotional yet determined, Biden escalated the administration's rhetoric against ISIS by basically saying, "see you in hell." Biden also recalled recent terrorists attacks on American soil, including 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombings, to rally the lively audience. It's perhaps the most passionate speech we've seen from the vice president yet.
When these barbarians replicated with Steven what they did with Foley, who is from New Hampshire, I [think they] somehow think that it's going to lessen U.S. resolve, frighten us, intimidate us. But if they think the American people will be intimidated, they don't know us very well. ... The American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand. As a nation, we're united. And when people harm Americans, we don't retreat. We don't forget. We take care of those who are grieving, and when that's finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.
However, it's not the first time the vice president has used the line "gates of hell" in a public forum. Following the attacks on U.S. consulates in Benghazi, Biden said he will "track" whoever did this to the fiery underworld gates during the vice presidential debate with Rep. Paul Ryan.
Here's the video of Biden's speech.
Earlier on Wednesday, Obama addressed Sotloff's murder in a press conference from Estonia, where he had just arrived on his weeklong European trip to address the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia. Much like his recent comments on ISIS, the president was thoughtful yet vague:
Whatever these murderers think they’ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They have failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists.
Obama has come under fire in the last week for not having a strong, definitive strategy to defeat ISIS, which has been responsible for violent acts across Iraq and Syria since their uprising last spring. The president attempted to clarify his stance during Wednesday's press conference, saying he's forming a so-called regional coalition to "reach out to Sunni tribes in some of the areas that ISIS has occupied." The U.S. military airstrikes against ISIS targets in northern Iraq have also worked to block the terrorist group from gaining new ground.
"Now what we need to do is make sure that we’ve got the regional strategy in place that can support an ongoing effort — not just in the air but on the ground — to move that forward," Obama said.
It's clear the president is taking a more calculated approach to ISIS, as well as to the overall rebuilding of the Iraqi government. Following the decadelong Iraq war, he's averse to placing more boots on the ground, favoring a more hands-off approach over an old-school American intervention. However, his response, coupled with the mounting violence from ISIS, is not sitting well with many Americans who believe the president needs to be more active against the immediate threats of ISIS.
And that is where Biden is coming out on top this week — even if it's by rhetoric alone.
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