Yesterday Barack Obama had an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times titled, “Our fight against violent extremism.” It was intended, I think, as a prelude to the White House summit on Countering Violent Extremism–no particular extremism, just the violent kind–that is now under way. Obama articulated his vision for how we can defeat “violent extremism”:
In Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians. In recent months, we’ve seen deadly attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Paris and Copenhagen.
I suspect that widespread ridicule caused Obama to finally acknowledge that the 21 Egyptians were beheaded because they were Christians.
Elsewhere, the Pakistan Taliban massacred more than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers. From Somalia, al-Shabaab has launched attacks across East Africa. In Nigeria and neighboring countries, Boko Haram kills and kidnaps men, women and children.
You could go on and on, but that is a pretty good brief rundown of recent Islamic terrorism. The question that our president needs to answer is, what are we going to do about it?
In the face of this challenge, we must stand united internationally and here at home. We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem.
Why do they keep saying this? ISIS is rampaging across the Middle East. What can stop ISIS other than military force? Nothing, obviously. But by saying that military force “alone” is not enough, Obama is trying to justify the fact that he isn’t using any significant military force, either alone or in combination with something else.
Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so.
Actually, simply taking out terrorists who kill innocent civilians is a great place to start. But we aren’t doing that. As for the propagandists, recruiters and enablers, I would like to kill them too. Is that what Obama is planning? Of course not.
This week, we’ll take an important step forward as governments, civil society groups and community leaders from more than 60 nations gather in Washington for a global summit on countering violent extremism. Our focus will be on empowering local communities.
No one could possibly believe this. Local communities are overrun by ISIS, the Taliban, al Qaeda and Iranian proxies because they don’t have the military strength to resist. A “global summit” of bogus community organizers will do nothing to “empower” them.
Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims. The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam. We can echo the testimonies of former extremists who know how terrorists betray Islam. We can help Muslim entrepreneurs and youths work with the private sector to develop social media tools to counter extremist narratives on the Internet.
The reason ISIS is successful in social media is that it is successful on the battlefield. If it didn’t have the ability to produce videos showing its opponents being beheaded and burned alive, its social media presence would be irrelevant. Sickos like this kind of thing and flock to the ISIS banner. They aren’t going to be dissuaded by a hashtag campaign. #BringBackOurHeads.
At this week’s summit, community leaders from Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston will highlight innovative partnerships in their cities that are helping empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies.
In other words, money is being passed out to “community organizers” who are loyal Democratic Party foot soldiers. This has nothing to do with defeating Islamic aggression.
More broadly, groups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives. The world has to offer today’s youth something better.
Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.
Here, Obama sounds like George W. Bush. The echo is intentional. It is noteworthy that today, Marie Harf, stung by ridicule of her claim that what ISIS needs is a jobs program, started quoting W:
And let's not forget George W Bush's comments on CVE: “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror": http://t.co/Du68tsrjHd
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) February 17, 2015
GWB: We will challenge the poverty & hopelessness & lack of education & failed govts that too often allow conditions terrorists can seize
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) February 17, 2015
So, are we all neocons now? Not exactly. Just as Obama doesn’t promise to do anything on the military front, he also raises the idea of “economic, educational and entrepreneurial development” but doesn’t suggest that he intends to do anything to help further such development. It’s all just meaningless words.
Now Obama moves on to what he really cares about: apologizing for America:
Finally — with al Qaeda and ISIL peddling the lie that the United States is at war with Islam —
Let’s just pause here for a moment. al Qaeda and other radical groups don’t say that the U.S. is at war with Islam, they say that Islam is at war with the U.S. This war, in their view, is a continuation of Islam’s expansionist destiny that dates to the 7th century.
– all of us have a role to play by upholding the pluralistic values that define us as Americans. …
That pluralism has at times been threatened by hateful ideologies and individuals from various religions. We’ve seen tragic killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012 and at a Jewish community center in Kansas last year.
We do not yet know why three young people, who were Muslim Americans, were brutally killed in Chapel Hill, N.C. But we know that many Muslim Americans across our country are worried and afraid. Americans of all faiths and backgrounds must continue to stand united with a community in mourning and insist that no one should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.
What is the point of this? Obama says America has a problem with “hateful ideologies and individuals from various religions.” He can’t stop talking about the Chapel Hill murders, where the “hateful ideology” was liberal Democrat politics. Oddly, however, he leaves out the main religion-motivated attacks that have occurred on American soil: Fort Hood, the Washington sniper, the Boston Marathon bombing. Why does he fail to mention the most obvious instances of religiously-motivated violence?
Here is Obama’s conclusion:
Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds. With this week’s summit, we’ll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.
Obama may be the most clueless politician in modern history. There isn’t any doubt about the fact that free Western societies “offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.” It’s the end of history, remember? But here’s the thing: Islamic radicals (ISIS et al.) don’t want opportunity, justice or dignity. They want to chop people’s heads off, just for fun. They delight in parading enemies in cages and burning them alive. They like to buy and sell women as slaves. They oppress all those who do not share their ideology. The last things they want are opportunity, justice and dignity. They know all about the West, and they hate it.
The bottom line is that Obama makes noises of various sorts, but he doesn’t mean any of it. The only thing he is passionate about is pleading guilty to whatever charges may be lodged against our country. If anyone under siege by ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban, Iran, or anyone else, expects any relief from this administration, he is destined for disappointment.