Vail Daily column: Je suis befuddled
I’ve thought about writing on this topic for some time now, but I was reticent to do so until a very dear friend sent me a copy of a letter he had written to the editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Tom and I frequently discuss politics and world events, and when he visits the valley, he’s even been known to voice his opinions right here on the pages of the Daily.
While Tom and I don’t always agree on politics, the one subject where there is no divergence of thought is our mutual bafflement about the president’s circumlocution and parsing of words when it comes to speaking about the elephant in the room — the threat from militant Islam.
Mr. Obama’s aversion to criticize anything Muslim is well documented. From is his speech at the U.N. when he dissembled that the attack on Benghazi was the result of a video, to labeling the Ft. Hood Massacre “workplace violence,” the president’s unwillingness to link the words Muslim and terrorist is disconcerting.
My buddy Tom evidently had enough of Obama’s canard and wrote the following.
“The Paris Unity demonstration against radical Islamic terrorism drew 3.7 million people (as reported by CNN). Many world leaders attended. Among them were French President Hollande, British Prime Minister Cameron, German Chancellor Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“Neither President Obama, Vice President Biden nor Secretary of State Kerry deemed it necessary to attend. Attorney General Holder was in Paris at the time, but he also did not feel the need to attend.”
“What the heck is going on? The civilized world comes together to demonstrate against the savage, uncivilized violence of sick, ideological, radical Islamic terrorists and America sits it out? This event has been characterized by many in the media as an outpouring of solidarity and strength. How, then, do you characterize sitting it out?
“What were Obama, Biden, Kerry and Holder doing that ‘trumped’ attending and linking arms with our allies to stand tall against the most dangerous threat to America, to freedom and to civilized decency?
“The Obama Administration has deemed it fit to involve themselves in sundry local issues, even one as mundane as a misunderstanding between an absent-minded professor locking himself out of his house and the Cambridge police. Yet they have no time for the Paris Unity March and Rally. While the rest of the civilized world declares ‘Je suis Charlie’ in defiance of global terrorism, Americans are left to say ‘Je suis befuddled.’”
Bravo Tom, Bravo! Last November, I wrote a commentary postulating that we cannot win the war against militant Islam until the president of the United States combines the words Muslim and terrorist in the same sentence.
I’m no fan of the president’s philosophy of government, but this matter isn’t about politics in its usual sense, i.e., left/right, conservative/liberal. No, this is about recognizing and identifying an evil ideology and then marshaling the forces to fight this threat. Killing al-Qaida or ISIL leaders from afar with drones hardly qualifies as marshaling our resources, while he releases known al-Qaida leaders from Gitmo.
Wars are fought with more than guns and bullets — first and foremost, wars are fought and won with leadership. But when the “leader of the free world” fails to attend a unity rally in Paris after the horrific attack there or makes statements such as “ISIL is not Islamic” speaks volumes.
Every clear thinking American should be compelled to ask, “Why won’t the president of the United States publicly condemn militant Islam without parsing words?” Wasn’t Paris the perfect opportunity for a John F. Kennedy, “Ich bin ein Berliner” moment or a Ronald Reagan “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech? So I ask rhetorically, where was the American leadership when the rest of the world was demonstrating their solidarity in Paris?
The New York Times and the “true believers” will continue to make excuses for the president and dodge the issue. But what calamity will have to befall us before the president of the United States chooses to publicly discuss Islam’s role in global terror?
Quote of the day: “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.” — Winston Churchill
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.