September 18, 2012
Motzei Rosh Hashanah (night -- after end of the holiday)
Motzei Rosh Hashanah (night -- after end of the holiday)
I've just returned to my computer after a beautiful Rosh Hashanah. My time was devoted in the main to prayer, reading and contemplation. Oh, and honey-laden meals with family. Not to mention late afternoon naps. But I will say that several people over the last few days have asked me if I think what has been going on with the attacks on US Embassies has had an effect on the attitude of American voters -- in particular American Jewish voters -- towards Obama and his re-election.
My very short answer: I pray so.
This posting will be devoted to that very question of whether American voters get it yet. Do they have eyes to see what is happening? Let's take a look:
Obama, from the early months of his administration, has courted the Muslim world. He set the tone with his June 2009 Cairo speech:
Other examples of this sort of "touchy feely" outreach abound but are too numerous to recount here. In 2010, when he visited Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, where he once lived, he declared that "unity is more powerful than division; and that the people of this world can live together in peace." There was nary a reference to Indonesia's horrendous civil rights violations, for that would not have fit the script. Most recently, there is the surreal statement by the Secretary of State regarding the Obama administration's hope that there can still be "good faith" negotiations with Iran.
At home, Obama deliberately cut the official connections between terrorism and Islam, as if one has nothing to do with the other. An edict came forth from the president prohibiting mention of "Muslim" in connection with references to terrorists. And when the Muslim terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan, who was a US army major, massacred 13 people and wounded 29 others, the president said he considered this a "work accident." The man, a psychiatrist, was over-pressured, you see, and simply cracked. Later it was revealed that fellow officers had heard Hasan speak about his commitment to radical Islam, but were afraid to report him for fear that their own careers would then suffer: political correctness rules the day in Obama's America. But political correctness can cost lives.
Obama praised the "Arab Spring". In May 2011, he celebrated what was happening in the Middle East in a speech delivered at the State Department (emphasis added):
"The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square; town by town; country by country; the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights...Read: Obama’s Speech on the Arab Spring
"But the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and diversion won’t work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world – a world of astonishing progress in places like India, Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. A new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied.
"In Cairo, we heard the voice of the young mother who said, 'It’s like I can finally breathe fresh air for the first time.'
"...In Benghazi, we heard the engineer who said, 'Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.'
"In Damascus, we heard the young man who said, 'After the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity.'"
(I trust that the irony of the places he alluded to will not be lost on my readers.)
In this very same speech, Obama alluded to Bin Laden thus (again, emphasis added):
"Bin Laden and his murderous vision won some adherents. But even before his death, al Qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance, as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. By the time we found bin Laden, al Qaeda’s agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands."As the President saw it: Al Qaeda was the radical, evil element confronting the US and causing unrest in the Middle East. The order he gave to take out Bin Laden, coupled with the democratic uprising of the Middle East, rendered Al Qaeda a dead end -- finished.
More recently, in the course of campaigning, Obama has gone to some lengths to refer to his role in ordering the death of Bin Laden, and to take pride in the fact that Al Qaeda was pretty much finished. Implicit always is the increased sense of security it was now possible for Americans to feel.
By now a great many things should be fairly clear:
- The courting of the Muslim world by Obama has yielded nothing positive for the US. No political or diplomatic gains. On the contrary, the President's position has made him a laughing stock and an object of contempt in much of the Muslim world. With his groveling he has lost respect for his country. America is weaker today.
- America has been stymied by an official refusal, emanating from the highest levels, to recognize an intrinsic connection between Islam, at the very least in its more radical formulations, and terrorism around the world. As it has been said, "You cannot defeat an enemy if you cannot name it." And the harsh reality is that radical Islam today represents the greatest threat today to the US and to the Western way of life. Obama's refusal to recognize this renders it in no way less true. The enemy is far far more extensive than Obama would have American's believe when he refers only to a weakened Al Qaeda as the antithesis of new freedoms in the Arab world. There are a host of intertwined jihadist forces -- including, but not limited to, Muslim Brotherhood -- at work on achieving world domination.
- The Arab Spring does not exist. The turmoil that has ensued over the last year plus in the Middle East would more realistically be referred to as an Arab Ice Storm. In light of the negative developments that have ensued, Obama's very certain, very absolute, positive predictions make him look more than a bit foolish. Eager to jump on the bandwagon of "democracy" in the Arab lands (and, not incidentally, to show the Muslims he was with them), he lacked the prudence to say that the beginnings looked hopeful but a wait-and-see attitude was necessary.
- Al Qaeda is far from dead. The way I am hearing it, there is a good chance that the anti-Mohammad movie (which has not been located yet in its entirety, if at all it exists) on which the violence was pinned was nothing more than a ruse. The attacks on American embassies may have been orchestrated to take place on 9/11 in revenge for Obama's bragging about having taken out Bin Laden. And in the end more than a handful of people were likely involved.
- Obama's initial reaction to the violence was shameful in its obsequious apologizing, its empathizing with the murderers and rioters, and its refusal to stand up for the American value of free speech.
What is visible, for those with eyes to see, is a president who has gotten it wrong on every single count, and has done the US great damage in this process.
This is a story that is still unfolding, and perhaps there are those yet, who have been loath to renounce support for Obama, who will begin to have serious doubts at last.
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