I have Muslim neighbors. I have Muslim colleagues at work. I find them to be friendly, industrious, intelligent and as “American” as I am. I understand religious garb. As a youth nuns taught me. I found them to be excellent teachers and superb disciplinarians. They wore habits. Habits are not exactly a giant step from a burka. The habit of the Ursuline nuns at my school showed only their faces and hands. All else was completely covered.
Also, I lived through the era of the “Ugly American.” It was a pejorative term used to refer to perceptions of the loud, arrogant, and ethnocentric behavior of American citizens and our government when visiting or, in the case of our government, dealing with other nations abroad. The term also applied to U.S. corporations in the international arena. The appellation was accurate in some respects.
[Source: The Dream Of Muslim Outreach Has Become A Nightmare, by Victor Davis Hanson]
After President Obama was inaugurated he carried his message of hope-and-change to the Muslim world. He would reference his familial Islamic roots. His plan was to win over the Muslim world and make the U.S. liked in the Middle East. He reasoned that terrorism would decrease. The plan was not entirely without merit. But, as with his approach to racial relations, Obama’s remedies proved worse than the original illness.
I am a pragmatist when it comes to foreign relations. OK. We tried it. It didn’t work. Move on to plan B. Sadly, our President seems to be incapable of moving on to plan “B.” The problem, as I see it, is that he believes he is ever so brilliant that a plan “B” is not necessary.
[Directly from the Davis Hanson article] Obama gave his first presidential interview to Al Arabiya, noting that he has Muslims in his family. He implicitly blamed America’s strained relations with many Middle Eastern countries on his supposedly insensitive predecessor, George W. Bush.
The new message of the Obama administration was that the Islamic world was understandably hostile because of what America had done rather than what it represented. (So, no more “ugly American” – RF)
Accordingly, all mention of radical Islam, and even the word “terrorism,” was airbrushed from the new administration’s vocabulary. Words to describe terrorism or the fight against it were replaced by embarrassing euphemisms like “overseas contingency operations,” “man-caused disaster” and “workplace violence.”
In apology tours and mythological speeches, Obama exaggerated Islamic history as often as he critiqued America. He backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He pushed America away from Israel, appeased Iran, and tried to piggyback on the Arab Spring by bombing Libya. He even lectured Christians on their past pathologies dating back to the Crusades. Obama’s outreach was still interpreted by Islamists as guilt and weakness to be exploited rather than magnanimity to be reciprocated. Terrorist attacks increased. Obama blamed them on a lack of gun control or generic “violent extremism.”
Careerist toadies in government parroted the party-line message and even tried to outdo their politically correct boss.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano focused on returning veterans as terrorist risks. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said that global warming, not the Islamic State, was the real threat. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the president asked him to make Muslim outreach a top priority for the agency. CIA Director John Brennan said that jihad “is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam.” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper opined that the Muslim Brotherhood was largely secular.
The president often blamed the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay for needlessly provoking Islam. Obama said that terrorist dangers were no more deadly than falls in bathtubs. He wrote off the Islamic State as an inept jayvee squad, assuring that they posed no existential threat. He campaigned on the premise that al-Qaida was on the run. Obama pulled all troops out of Iraq, which instantly degenerated into chaos.
Obama kept insisting that guns, not Islamic terrorists, were the real danger — even as assassins used bombs from Boston to Paris, knives from California to Oklahoma, and, most recently, a truck to run over innocents in Nice, France.
Intelligence and law enforcement agencies got the message and worried more about charges of “Islamophobia” than preempting deadly terrorist attacks. Authorities had either interviewed and then ignored the Boston, Fort Hood, San Bernardino and Orlando terrorists, or they had blindly ignored their brazen social media threats.
Were there truly grievances of the Islamic world against America? Undoubtedly there were some. But remember that the US welcomed Muslim immigrants. That’s why I have Muslim neighbors and colleagues. Billions were given to help Muslim nations and many more billions still flow to these nations. We helped save Afghanistan from the Russian invasion. Our Navy protected Persian Gulf nations.
[Directly from the Davis Hanson article] Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the original architects of al-Qaida, were so desperate to find grievances against the West that in their written diatribes they had to invent fantasies of Jews walking in Mecca. In Michael Moore fashion, they laughably whined about America’s lack of campaign finance reform and Western culpability for global warming.
The Obama plan “A” is an abject failure. The problem for the next President is that even a potentially successful “plan B” will take many years to come to fruition. President Obama’s “Mr. Nice Guy – plan A” has proved to be a nightmare of biblical proportions – and the nightmare is far from over. Thank you, Mr. President.
Say what you will about George W. Bush, but after 9/11 there were NO TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE US HOMELAND. What changed under President Obama? In my opinion, you just read it.
I still hope that our next president won’t try to give us “four-more-years” of failed Obama foreign policy. Do you know a candidate who is likely to do that?