Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - One of the critical rules of warfare is to never let the enemy know your plans of how, when and where you will respond.

In what is seen as the worst, strategic national security blunder in the long and bloody struggle against terrorism, President Obama broke that rule when he willingly told the Islamist extremist insurgency last week that he didn't have a longterm plan to repel their advances in the Middle East

And he gave no sign when he would decide on one to deal with the ISIS terrorist armies in their war in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

"We don't have a strategy yet," he told the world in a news conference last week.

That unbelievable remark made front page headlines here and around the world, and drew bloodthirsty cheers from terrorist leaders who have rampaged nearly nonstop across much of Syria, seizing territory and slaughtering thousands, as they continued their war in Iraq right up to the gates of Baghdad -- threatening Lebanon, Jordan and other neighboring countries on their list.

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse," Obama said, adding that any suggestions that "we're about to go full scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating [the terrorists there or] that we'll start moving forward imminently…. that's no going to happen."

ISIS's heavily-armed terrorist armies, who are attracting hoards of young, fiercely Islamist fighters from the West and the Middle East, have been waging a new and more aggressive war, leaving mass graves of human carnage in their wake. Meantime, Obama has been worrying about his sinking job approval polls, raising big bucks for his party, and hoping this terrorism thing would go away.

It had interfered with his total withdrawal policy in Iraq, his dismissal of Syria's war as something that needed to be addressed diplomatically, and his focus on the midterm elections that were expected to deliver a damaging blow on his party in November.

Wise and prudent presidents know you must be ready with well-thought-out contingency plans to handle a wide range of potential national security threats. And the ISIS threat to our allies in the Middle East has been building for many months.

Yet, incredibly, Obama admitted at his news conference that he had just asked the Pentagon to prepare a list of possible military options. And that he has begun working on broader plans -- military, diplomatic, economic -- to work with our allies in the Middle East.

No wonder our allies in the West and the Middle East no longer look to America for leadership in an increasingly dangerous world.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.