Those numbers fly in the face of President Barack Obama's minimization last January that the Islamic State was not a significant threat to the U.S. or world. He said: "The analogy we use around here sometimes -- and I think is accurate -- is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of (an Osama) bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian."
The point and problem is that if the commander in chief doesn't believe that the enemies of a free world are a real danger, he will recklessly endanger us by his politics of ignorance, avoidance and a lack of offensive interception. His recent military offense and so-called new fourfold strategy are little more than a bandage on malignant cancer.
I agree with Vijay Prashad, a professor of international studies at Trinity College. He talked to WWLP-TV, which summarized his opinion: "The president's plan is more tough talk than effective strategy, and ... it's not likely going to lead to a success in counteracting terrorism."
Obama isn't the first to have a foreign policy of blissful appeasement and too-little-too-late interception. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did it with the Nazis. President Gerald Ford did it with communists. President Jimmy Carter did it with the ayatollahs. And here we go again with Obama.
Tragic tipping points with Islamists and other extremists are not new. What's often overlooked, however, is how such inept political moves -- or lack thereof -- can gravely alter the course of human history and jeopardize the stability and safety of civilizations. On the other hand, it also cannot be underestimated how timely resistance and offensive and defensive strategies can deliver nations and even a continent from evil. Case in point: "The Battle That Preserved a Christian Europe."
That's the title of the fourth chapter of Chris and Ted Stewart's insightful book "The Miracle of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points That Saved the World," which describes how radical Islam came within a hair's breadth of taking over the world in the eighth century.
The authors explain that 100 years after the death of Muhammad, "a battle for the soul of Europe took place." There were no legendary heroes there or romantic tales of war. There were just some brave souls who were unwilling to watch Christian Europe be swallowed alive by Islamic invaders.
Historians call it the Battle of Tours. Though many details of the battle -- including its exact location and number of combatants -- have been lost in history, here are a few facts we do know.
In 732, thousands of miles from the birthplace of Islam, this pivotal European battle took place in present-day France, somewhere between Tours and Poitiers. It was there that Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Frankish ruler Charles Martel, a Christian, fought against an army of the Umayyad caliphate, under the leadership of Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, governor-general of al-Andalus.
Estimates of the number in Martel's army vary between 15,000 and 75,000. Losses were about 1,500. And the number in the Muslim army was somewhere between 60,000 and 400,000 cavalrymen.
The Latin Library explained the battle this way: "In one of the rare instances where medieval infantry stood up against cavalry charges, the disciplined Frankish soldiers withstood the assaults, though according to Arab sources, the Arab cavalry several times broke into the interior of the Frankish square. But despite this, Franks did not break, and it is probably best expressed by a translation of an Arab account of the battle from the Medieval Source Book: 'And in the shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like North a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts of the foe.'"
Frankish troops won the combat without cavalry, and Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi was killed.
The History channel summarized the impact: "Victory at Tours ensured the ruling dynasty of Martel's family, the Carolingians. His son Pepin became the first Carolingian king of the Franks, and his grandson Charlemagne carved out a vast empire that stretched across Europe."
But most of all, Martel's victory at Tours was pivotal in stopping the western advances of Umayyad forces and preserving Christianity in Europe when Muslim domination was overrunning it.
So critical was Martel's triumph at Tours that noted German historian Leopold von Ranke concluded that it "was the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world."
As the West -- particularly the U.S. -- squares off against the barbaric Islamic State, could we be facing another tipping point in the course of the world? Will we, like those in the Battle of Tours, rise to the occasion, or will we cower in retreat and isolation?