The number of presidential assertions from yesterday that will justifiably be categorized as willful blindness, at the “Countering Violent Extremism Summit,” occurred nearly too fast to catalogue in real time. The president referenced the major challenges America has faced over its history: depression, Civil War, two world wars, Fascism, Communism, 9/11, etc. What he failed to focus on were the exceptional leadership skills courage and vision that guided us through those challenges: the skills of Roosevelt, Truman, Reagan, and, in many ways, George W. Bush.
The leadership vacuum is startling. This week alone, reports surfaced that the administration refused intelligence to the Jordanians and Egyptians for striking Islamic State targets. Obama condemned Egypt and the UAE for air strikes in Libya; in part, no doubt, because the administration was not consulted over the strikes. Which in turns indicates that the Obama administration is not considered a leader in the conflict against Islamic State – or maybe Egypt and the UAE have concerns over the operational security of their planning, if shared with the Obama administration.
Leaving aside the summit attendees, who in point of fact behave in total opposition to what the president contends is necessary, the president remains determined to approach foreign policy crises in the mode of community organizer. His rhetoric, to those unfamiliar with the tenets of Islam and Islamic jurisprudence, was no doubt soothing. It all sounded good, rational, a way to keep the unknowing somnambulant. The rhetoric only works, however, if you never study what makes radical Islam tick, or peruse a history that is in no way at odds with the crimes against humanity and the aspirations to genocide we see from Islamic radicals today.
The President spoke to the wide range of activities that must be engendered to fight “violent extremism,” and yet he entertains senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, at the White House and State Department, who stand as the tip of the spear, the brain trust, in the promotion of a radical Islamic ideology. That ideology embraces the idea that failings in the Arab world were directly attributable to the fact that Muslims had grown away from fundamental, thousand-year-old interpretations of Islam. The road to success, in the view of the ideology, lies in renewing that thousand-year-old interpretation.
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), scores of Islamic radicals have visited the White House from a variety of organizations that serve as fronts for the Brotherhood.
The conflict between the President’s words and his behaviors is, to put it kindly, difficult to resolve.
If Marie Harf was justifiably castigated over her “jobs for radicals” contentions, we now know without question that the policy comes directly from the Oval Office. The President doubled down on Harf’s contention in his remarks yesterday – more elegantly, perhaps, but quite categorically.
The root cause of Islamic violence is Islam; there is no escape from what is said in the Koran, the hadiths and lore about the life of Mohammed. The is no escape from the fact that Mohammed’s earlier, more peaceful teachings are considered to be “abrogated” by his later more militant, violent teachings. The fact is that seventh-century behaviors are being justified in the modern world by Salafist Islam.
The president spoke of the “over a billion Muslims” who reject the terrorist narrative. That vague statement could actually leave somewhere between 400 and 500 million who are, in fact, radicalized, well beyond the estimates of most experts. With this and other examples, the president continues to erode his credibility; the process of casting doubt on his knowledge began with the Cairo speech in 2009 and continues to this day.
And, yes, Mr. President, Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. do consider themselves to be holy warriors. The ever more secular West has trouble relating to religious fervor, and, failing to understand it, denigrates it as non-applicable. It is this absence of connection with reality that stirs the debate over the use of words, and the failure to identify clearly who poses a threat, and what the scope of the threat is.
The president spoke to “lifting up” the voices of former extremists. Where are they, Mr. President? Have they been invited to the White House with the appropriate fanfare? Where is the photo op?
The President decried the absence of education, the presence of corruption, and the “daily humiliations” Muslims are subject to, but did not make the obvious connection between those circumstances and the dominance of Islamic thought and jurisprudence in the Middle East for over a millennium.
“So the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; it’s more democracy.” Thus said the president, apparently unaware that the dominant thinking in Islam is that democracy and Islam are fundamentally incompatible. Democracy is an idea created by man and is therefore secondary to the law of God, in this case the Koran. Democracy may be used as a vehicle to achieve Islamic, Sharia-based governance, but its role is not to go beyond that.
The President contended that Islam has been “woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” Nothing could be further from the truth. He actually highlighted this falsehood by mentioning the first Islamic Center being founded in the 1890’s, which was over a century after the American founding. He also failed to include Thomas Jefferson’s appraisal of Islam. Jefferson faced the same barbarism and the same justifications for that barbarism that we face today. No less a figure than Winston Churchill reflected extensively on the impact of Islam on its followers and its society.
Little has changed between those days to these, and it is time to face the actual realities of radicalized Islam, as opposed to what the president wishes were true.