Charles Krauthammer has a piece in today’s Washington Post Taking Emporer Obama to task for Sunday’s breach of decency:
On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as the New York Times put it, “reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities.”
Again? Already? Had not 4 million marchers and 44 foreign leaders just turned out on the streets of France to declare “No” to intimidation, and pledging solidarity, indeed identification (“Je suis Charlie”) with a satirical weekly specializing in the most outrageous and often tasteless portrayals of Muhammad? And yet, within 48 hours, the new Charlie Hebdo issue featuring the image of Muhammad — albeit a sorrowful, indeed sympathetic Muhammad — sparked new protests, denunciations and threats of violence, which in turn evinced another round of doubt and self-flagellation in the West about the propriety and limits of free expression. Hopeless.
As for President Obama, he never was Charlie, not even for those 48 hours. From the day of the massacre, he has been practically invisible. At the interstices of various political rallies, he issued bits of muted, mealy-mouthed boilerplate. Followed by the now-famous absence of any high-ranking U.S. official at the Paris rally, an abdication of moral and political leadership for which the White House has already admitted error.
But this was no mere error of judgment or optics or, most absurdly, of communications in which we are supposed to believe that the president was not informed by staff about the magnitude, both actual and symbolic, of the demonstration he ignored. (He needed to be told?)
On the contrary, the no-show, following the near silence, precisely reflected the president’s profound ambivalence about the very idea of the war on terror. Obama began his administration by purging the phrase from the lexicon of official Washington. He has ever since shuttled between saying that (a) the war must end because of the damage “keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing” was doing to us, and (b) the war has already ended, as he suggested repeatedly during the 2012 campaign, with bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda “on the run.”
Yeah, he’s right that Obama doesn’t take the “war on terrorism” (which really should be a war against militant Islam) seriously. He doesn’t act like a man who is trying to win anything there. He’ll make a gesture towards it from time to time, but he really doesn’t care enough about it to focus any real attention on it. Benign neglect is about the best we can hope for from Obama. With the way he is releasing prisoners from Gitmo, I think you really have to question how benign that neglect is. He continues:
Hence his accelerating release of Gitmo inmates — five more announced Wednesday — fully knowing that up to 30 percent have returned to the battlefield (17 percent confirmed, up to 12 percent suspected but not verified). Which is why, since about the Neolithic era, POWs tend to be released after a war is over.
Paris shows that this war is not. On the contrary. As it rages, it is entering an ominous third phase.
The first, circa 9/11, involved sending Middle Eastern terrorists abroad to attack the infidel West.
Then came the lone wolf — local individuals inspired by foreign jihadists launching one-off attacks, as seen most recently in Quebec, Ottawa and Sydney.
Paris marks Phase 3: coordinated commando strikes by homegrown native-speaking Islamists activated and instructed from abroad. (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo killings, while the kosher-grocery shooter proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State.) They develop and flourish in Europe’s no-go zones where sharia reigns and legitimate state authorities dare not tread.
Krauthammer doesn’t mention it, but the attack in Nairobi was another of these kind of attacks. This is another example of why you should be armed basically all the time. The only thing that could have stopped these terrorists is armed victims. Armed victims isn’t a panacea. When terrorists strike like this, people will be killed no matter what. But if they are armed, they can shoot back. They can minimize the damage caused by these kinds of attacks. At the end, Krauthammer asks the right questions:
The war on terror 2015 is at a new phase with a new geography. At the core are parallel would-be caliphates: in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State; in Sub-Saharan Africa, now spilling out of Nigeria into Cameroon, a near-sovereign Boko Haram; in the badlands of Yemen, AQAP, the most dangerous of all al-Qaeda affiliates. And beyond lie not just a cast of mini-caliphates embedded in the most ungovernable parts of the Third World from Libya to Somalia to the borderlands of Pakistan, but an archipelago of no-go Islamist islands embedded in the heart of Europe.
This is serious. In both size and reach it is growing. Our president will not say it. Fine. But does he even see it?
I think Obama sees it. Krauthammer doesn’t ask the most important question. That question is does Obama want to see the terrorists achieve their goals? I think the answer to that is a qualified yes. He wants to see them succeed to the extent that they bring down America and Western Civilization. He doesn’t particularly want an Islamic Caliphate. Like Charles Manson thought of the blacks, Obama expects the Mohammedans to overthrow Civilization, and then ask Liberals to run their shiny New World Order. We’ll see how that works out for him.