This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," February 7, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," Jordan vows to wage a relentless war on ISIS after the brutal murder of a captured fighter pilot. Could this be a turning point in the fight against the terror group? And will the U.S. back up its Middle East allies?
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Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Outrage spread across the world this week after a video was released showing a caged Jordanian fighter pilot being burned alive by Islamic State militants, an act that King Abdullah vowed to avenge with a war. And President Obama denounced ISIS at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, calling it a brutal and vicious death cult, but he told the attendees that violence rooted in religion isn't exclusive to Islam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. And in our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; editorial board member, Dorothy Rabinowitz; and columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady.
So, Dan, let's start with you.
We'll get to the president's remarks in a bit, but what does this week and the -- and this brutal murder of the Jordanian mean for the war and the alliance against ISIS?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST, DEPUTY EDITOR: Well, you raise the possibility it might be a turning point. We seem to have successions of turning points in this war.
GIGOT: We're hoping.
HENNINGER: Yeah, well. Remember, the Yazidi were isolated up on that mountain, that was a turning point, the beheading of the two U.S. reporters, that was another turning point, and now this horrific scene of the burning of this pilot is yet another turning point. In a sense, they're real, but in a sense, they all end up in the same place, which is the White House.
Let me take you through it shortly. As a result of that, all 26 members of the House Armed Services Committee unanimously voted that we should ship more arms to the Jordanians --
HENNINGER: -- who clearly appear to be willing to take the fight to ISIS.
GIGOT: And need the arms.
HENNINGER: Right, and need the arms.
GIGOT: And King Abdullah said this week, look, we're short, we don't have the kind of firepower we're going to need, and we're on the front lines.
HENNINGER: He said we want airplane parts, night vision and some precision munitions. The White House was asked about this, and Josh Earnest says we will undertake any request we receive, we haven't received one from the Jordanians yet, but if they send one to us, we will take a look at it. And in other words, status quo.
You have a coalition over there in the Middle East right now that looks like a pickup basketball team, which is a lot of people running around with no real coach or leader. Right? The United States is not committed yet to shaping a strategy and leading it. That came out of Ashton Carter's confirmation hearings this week to be defense secretary. So we're back to the same spot we have always been in.
GIGOT: And, Mary, the Jordanians are on the front lines now. They're committed. They're -- if we would back off at all, that ally might fall.
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: You know, Paul, you have to go back and think about what President Obama has done since he took office. I mean, he gave Iraq back. He drew the red line and the Syrians backed off of it. So he's not at this point -- at this point, he's not a credible leader for the region. And they need American leadership, but they're not getting it from this president. I think a big part of that is he doesn't have a good understanding of who this enemy is.
GIGOT: I suppose the White House would say, look, we pushed them back from Kobani, with the help of the Kurds on the ground. We just don't want to commit American forces there on the ground again. These countries have to take care of it themselves so we're waiting for them to get ready to be able to do this offensive against ISIS.
GIGOT: So be patient, it will happen.
O'GRADY: I think you call that leading from behind.
We have heard that before. I mean --
GIGOT: I'm trying to be fair to their argument. I think that's what they would say.
O'GRADY: Yeah, I know that's what they would say, but the fundamental problem with that is that if you think about how the enemy looks at it, right, they look at the Arab nations that are not strong enough to defeat them, don't have the weapons that are necessary, and a president that has neither the commitment, nor the understanding of who this enemy is and how important the struggle is, that is supposed to be backing them up.
GIGOT: And the key point is ISIS has to be seen to be losing to lose its attractiveness in getting new recruits.
O'GRADY: This is valuable propaganda for them.
GIGOT: They have to be rolled back from the territory that they have and we haven't seen that yet.
Dorothy, I want to talk to you about the president's remarks at that prayer breakfast, suggesting that Christianity -- Christians have been blamed for similar barbarity over the time. What do you think about his remarks in that context at this time?