There’s something funny about the higher wisdom operative in the Obama administration’s foreign policy generally and in its approach to the Muslim world specifically; it’s not very smart. The discrepancy between its purported sophistication and its obvious absurdity would be a fertile source of humor if we could get a little distance on it. In “Islam: Unmentionable in DC,” former Middle East CIA agent Reuel Marc Gerecht captures something of the absurdity with unusual concision:
Now it’s possible that President Obama’s play-nice approach to the Muslim world won’t leave us in any worse shape than we were in when he arrived in the White House. It is, however, questionable. When Mr. Obama’s attorney general twists himself into knots trying to avoid juxtaposing the word “Islam” with the word “terrorism,” and when the president’s senior counterterrorism advisor gives speeches on Islam that would be more appropriate on “Sesame Street,” you gotta wonder whether the dumbed-down level of public Washington discourse is the visible sign of internal bureaucratic rot.
Gerecht’s reference to bureaucratic rot puts one in mind of the adage about fish. A fish, according to the adage, rots from the head. Thus it certainly is with the bureaucratic rot that Gerecht apprehends.
Another sign of the rot came into view earlier this week in President Obama’s interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation. According to Obama, the trouble with al Qaeda and friends is their racism. Speaking about the Uganda bombings, Obama said: “What you’ve seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains.”
Explicating Obama’s comments, another high-ranking author of the bureaucratic rot diagnosed by Gerecht also weighed in. According to this administration official, Obama “references the fact that both U.S. intelligence and past al Qaeda actions make clear that al Qaeda — and the groups like al Shabaab that they inspire — do not value African life. The actions of al Qaeda and the groups that it has inspired show a willingness to sacrifice innocent African life to reach their targets.” Glenn Reynolds has some pointed comments here.
Obama appears to have overlooked the equal opportunity approach that al Qaeda et al. take in their targets. If anything, the United States is at the top of their target list. And not for reasons having anything to do with race. (What was it again?) You’d think the President of the United States might have taken note.
As Gerecht says, you gotta wonder. Is this some kind of a joke? If so, the joke is on us.