This ‘Messiah’ Isn’t Delivering Peace

February 4, 2010

President Barack Obama’s delusional perspective on fiscal issues is only surpassed by his surreal approach to the war on terror, which he doesn’t even consistently recognize as a war. The ideological extremism of his policies is only surpassed by his flailing incompetence in administering them.

During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly denounced President George W. Bush’s “unilateralist” and “imperialistic” foreign policy.

Obama carefully cultivated an image as a domestic and global healer who could leverage his personal background to rise above internal and foreign bickering and address the root causes of this conflict en route to a peaceful resolution. Frighteningly enough, he obviously believed his own hype.

What about those root causes? Well, Obama’s entire approach to the war (he seems to prefer “law enforcement issue”) is driven by his belief that Muslim extremists didn’t become terrorists because of their ideology but because we have mistreated them. He thinks we have goaded potential terrorists into becoming terrorists and given existing terrorists further cause to hate us. “Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al-Qaida recruit terrorists to its cause,” he said. “Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”

Well, he was going to turn all that around with euphemisms (“man-caused disaster,” “overseas contingency operations”), a flurry of lofty rhetoric (his world apology tour), a few symbolic steps (closing Gitmo) and certain policy reversals (Mirandizing terrorists and trying enemy combatants in civilian courts).

The result — his posture of relaxation and retreat — has been an unmitigated disaster. He went out of his way to avoid identifying the Fort Hood jihadist as a terrorist; he admonished us not to jump to any conclusions about the Christmas underwear bomber; he promised to close Gitmo with no plan to relocate the prisoners; he moved the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to ground zero with utterly no consideration for the local or national security implications involved; and his Justice Department allowed the Christmas bomber to lawyer up after only 50 minutes of interrogation.

After the public outcry over his reckless and foolish policies, he’s backtracking like an indecisive neophyte, sort of like the time when he endlessly vacillated over whether to crank up our operations in Afghanistan.

He just can’t seem to grasp that the real world involves more than street organizing, speechmaking, symbolic gestures and his grand appearance on the world stage as a veritable messiah. His miscalculations are disturbingly naive.

Remember his interview on Al-Arabiya, in January 2009, when he assured the Muslim world that things would be much different under his regime? He said that if we would “listen (and) set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years … there’s a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs.” Is it me, or did he sound as if he was patronizing all Muslims as potential terrorists there?

By “preconceptions” Obama seemed to be suggesting that the Bush administration had been promoting the idea that all of Islam was our enemy and the religion had contributed nothing constructive to the world.

Indeed, Obama agreed when his interviewer said, “President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad.” Obama responded: “We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name. … The language we use has to be a language of respect. … My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.”

But maybe it was a preconception-ridden Obama who hadn’t been listening to Bush’s statements on Islam and the war. Perhaps Obama ought to treat Mr. Bush’s words with more respect, such as in not flagrantly misquoting him.

Time and time again, President Bush hailed Islam as a peaceful religion and made clear that the United States was not at war with Islam, only with the extremists who distort the religion. He also said, “America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam, which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity and morality.”

Shouldn’t Obama have gotten a clue that sweet-talking the Muslim world — or promising to close Gitmo (which President Bush also did, regrettably) — doesn’t deter terrorists.

In fact, the verdict on Obama’s messianic approach is already in. Despite his overtures, his own CIA director, Leon Panetta, just testified that al-Qaida is growing and gearing for an attack in the United States in the next three to six months.

No worries. If it happens, he can blame Bush for that, too.