MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MA -- As President Barack Obama teed off against the ruthless Islamic State, which is already feeling the sting of the (F/A-18) Hornets, the island community of Martha's Vineyard awakened today to find itself at war.
Although security officials would never admit it, the already heavy U. S. Secret Service presence and Coast Guard patrols, never lightweight when a traveling POTUS is playing on a vacation isle, will gain even more weight when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turns up for a book signing three days hence.
Inherently risky on a routine day, when the international community and lame U.S. Congress are numbly watching the merciless butchering of innocents by jihadist zealots, that the president has now made it personal to the ruthless "caliph" of the latest Islamic extreme eruption ought to pique the paranoia of even the most peace-loving Vineyard denizens.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, according to this morning's Washington Post, testified in January that the Islamic State "does have aspirations for attacks on the homeland."
That would be OUR homeland.
With one of its closest if not at present easiest targets for clever, suicide-bent terrorists being an Atlantic coastal island laden with energized vacationers, bumping into presidential theatrics that "all is well?"
While security forces ramp up to defend against an intensifying if subtle threat, the risk is not insignificant.
Given that the Obamas' vacation this year has been extended for a second week beyond their usual one on the island, Vineyard residents should expect to feel the weight, if not be able to gauge the depth, of the layered security as the presidential presence persists.
The terrorists have a long time to plan and perhaps attempt nefarious infiltration of the Vineyard, as experts quoted in news reports uniformly expect them to do in attempting attacks on U.S. targets here and abroad.
Forces seen and unseen are protecting what amounts to the National Command Authority of our nation at war, but far outside the bunkered Pentagon and White House Situation Room, on the Vineyard.
Obama is gambling in continuing his vacation, we have to hope, and not merely being arrogant or reckless, because the consequences provide Islamic State's self-declared "Caliph," Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (on the right), with an appealing target.
(Caliph Ibrahim is the official title al-Baghdadi gave himself, also claiming to be a direct descendant of the Muslim Prophet. Although competing Sunni theologians are criticizing such a declaration, the "Caliph" has given no hint that he cares what they think.)
Vineyard residents will be forgiven for no doubt double doses of denial and cognitive dissonance, going about whatever are their routine iconoclastic pursuits while either craning to get a view of a traipsing leader of the free world and his girls, or cursing the armored motorcades serving as Obama's militarized golf carts.
And pacifistic idealists already are weighing in against the president's resumed warfighting, including in the person of local Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and others less well known but no less huffing and puffing.
They're bloviating endlessly on sympathetic cable outlets, still tuned into their anti-Vietnam War hipness yet willfully ignorant of genocide-in-process against Yazidi minorities and other targets of rabid "I.S." or "I.S.I.L." killers.
Fresh from castigating Israel for not negotiating with Hamas's "rocket boys," critics from Obama's own left wing are foaming at the mouth, while Republicans are muting their own sniping, fearful that the president's belated but refreshingly decisive response is derailing their mid-term election appeal to independent voters.
American news programmers are soft-pedaling the Islamic State's bloodletting, perhaps unparalleled since Rwanda's or Mosul's ethnic cleansing, meriting comparisons to early proto-Nazi atrocities "pre-Holocaust.
Readily available online, such nearly pornographic "snuff videos" of their mass executions and reports of unfathomable butchery are being posted by the murderous jihadis themselves, as boasts and warnings to Christians, Shiite Muslims, Yazidis and others that all of these either must: "Convert, run or die!"
Even the Pope has "Tweeted in," calling for Roman Catholics worldwide to pray for Iraq today, and exhorting countries and the international community with such capabilities to get moving to save vulnerable innocents.
Pope Francis isn't fooling around, either. Like it or not, he may have another "crusade" in his future.
Caliph Ibrahim (al-Baghdadi) has also promised that he and his forces will "march on Rome" in their quest to conquer and rule the world as an Islamic planet.
Being a pope with access to the Vatican's archives and library, His Holiness is unlikely to take such a threat lightly. Look for the Knights of Malta and perhaps even the Jesuits to dust off the Knights Templars if the apparent "madman" gains momentum; and no, we're not being disrespectful or hypothetical here, at all.
While President Obama likely is continuing his vacation to distract from the criticality of the threats to the world, statements attributed to anonymous counterterrorism officials, quoted in The Post's story, suggest the ruthless al-Baghdadi will not be fooled.
He spent time in the past as a "civilian internee" of the U. S. government, with varying reports of how long we had the now-caliph in custody, before being released by bureaucrats who no doubt are wishing they had not let him go.
Nor is al-Baghdadi likely to be teeing off for his own round of desert golf.
If he does, he'd be wise to "Watch the skies," for assorted drones with Hellfires or the aforementioned "sting of the Hornets."
Any mysterious "UFOs" engaging Islamic State's tyrannical caliph are unlikely to be friendly extraterrestrials coming to help him subdue our planet. No, his "eschatology" is destined to play out differently, to be sure.
Not that other exotic weaponry and unusual technologies aren't nearby to Martha's Vineyard, however.
We may never know. Actually, we do not want to know!
But if past is prologue (and Tom Clancy or Patrick Robinson novels are as well-informed as insiders testify), a nuclear fast-attack submarine with a contingent of Navy SEALs on board, and unseen pickets of ships, satellites and other Special Forces operators, perhaps are standing by and actively guarding the Vineyard right now.
Beach walking, boating, fishing, golf and celebrity chasing are proceeding as usual, but make no mistake: Martha's Vineyard is at war!
And if you're not paranoid? You're not paying attention!
Have a nice day, but let's be careful out there!
And give a little ground and patience to the Secret Service and "Coasties," how about it?
They have no illusions about what's going on and what's at stake!