Deroy Murdock explains for National Review Online readers why Obama administration officials are off track when they pontificate about the “root causes” of ISIS atrocities. Murdock takes issue specifically with State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, who appeared Sunday on MSNBC.

Liberals once routinely battled the “root causes” of crime. Never mind that lawless thugs robbed, raped, and killed innocent people. In a sense, the Left argued, criminals were the real victims. Driven by urban poverty, racism, social injustice, bad parents, “underfunded” public assistance, and too few teddy bears, they simply had no choice but to practice deadly hooliganism. …

… When Giuliani entered City Hall on New Year’s Day 1994, he rejected this popular mindset. He never wept over brutal thugs. Instead, he had the NYPD arrest them for small violations, many of which were committed by the same hoodlums who perpetrated major offenses. Thanks to this “broken windows” policing, safety soon soared. New York magazine applauded the mayor and his police chief with this August 14, 1995, headline: “Giuliani and Bratton think they’ve finally found the root cause of crime: Criminals.”

The “root causes” excuse quickly joined forced busing and Communism on the ash heap of history.

Until Sunday.

It would be bad enough if Harf invoked “root causes” to cry for those who rip off convenience stores or even open fire on school yards. However, it is profoundly disturbing and downright dangerous for her to react thus to the Khmer Rouge–style barbarity of the vicious and rapidly expanding ISIS caliphate.

It takes a triple-distilled fifth of naïveté to believe that a desire to escape poverty propels those who sliced the heads from the shoulders of 21 Egyptian Christians. “They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians,” Pope Francis observed Monday. Meanwhile, Team Obama’s despicable insistence on calling the dead “Egyptian citizens” rather than Christians is like saying that Adolf Hitler killed six million Europeans in the Holocaust.

Did these bloodthirsty ISIS killers yell, “We want jobs!” before conducting these atrocities? Did they scream, “We can’t pay our bills!” before jamming blades into the jugulars of their victims? These tragically laughable questions apparently are discussed seriously by Team Obama.