It is a fairly safe bet that President Obama and Hillary Clinton will mark the 14th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 with kind words for those who perished in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and their families. They will make a point of singling out the police and firefighters who lost their lives in the Twin Towers. They will also tell us that those responsible for the attacks do not in any way represent Islam. Upon uttering the usual platitudes they will move on to the next thing.
The next thing is invariably the same old thing. How long will it be before Hillary resumes the “War on Women” theme? How long will it be before she once again likens Republicans to Islamic terrorists? It was scarcely a fortnight ago, while speaking at a fundraiser in Cleveland, that she declared, “Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.” Frankly, it’s little hard to take from Hillary Clinton that she honestly believes that the 17 Republicans running for President are no different than the 19 hijackers responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.
It’s also a little hard to take Hillary Clinton likening Republicans to terrorists when she bears responsibility for the deaths of four Americans at Benghazi. She also bears responsibility along with the rest of the Obama Administration for claiming that these deaths were caused by an Internet video. That these attacks took place on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks did not enter into their calculation. After all, there was an election to be won with the narrative of “bin Laden is dead, al Qaeda is the run.” After it was established beyond any dispute that it was yet another act of Islamic terrorism carried out against Americans, the best Hillary could do was to ask, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Her question is all part of a narrative by the Obama administration in which all acts of Islamic terrorism are minimized. Which brings me to President Obama himself. He has made a concerted effort to minimize Islamic terrorism throughout his tenure. The classification of the November 2009 shootings at Fort Hood as “workplace violence” immediately come to mind. But it goes well beyond refusing to recognize acts of Islamic terrorism. Consider some of things he’s said this year alone.
In February, while speaking at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in D.C., he declared, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” So because Christians behaved badly more than 500 years ago we are somehow not allowed to pass judgment against Muslims who see fit to behead American journalists, murder French cartoonists, or navigate airplanes into skyscrapers in the name of Muhammad. Of course, it is President Obama who tells us that “ISIL isn’t Islamic.” By this logic couldn’t he also argue that the Crusaders weren’t Christian?
President Obama misses the big picture. The Crusades and the Inquisition took place before Christianity had its Reformation. In noting Obama’s remarks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, wrote in the Wall Street Journal this past March:
Yet today, because their faiths went through a long, meaningful process of Reformation and Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jews and Christians have come to dismiss religious scripture that urges intolerance or violence. There are literalist fringes in both religions, but they are true fringes. Regrettably, in Islam, it is the other way around: It is those seeking religious reform who are the fringe element.
None of this prevents Vice President Joe Biden from lecturing Hirsi Ali. Following a speech she gave, the one time Neil Kinnock impersonator approached her to second Obama’s notion that ISIS isn’t Islamic. When Hirsi Ali had the temerity to disagree, he said to her dismissively, “Let me tell you one or two things about Islam.” That he is the Democratic Party’s best hope in 2016 with the implosion of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is disconcerting enough. Like Obama, Biden is so devoted to the idea of minimizing Islamic terrorism that he presumes to know more about Islam than someone who has actually practiced it.
A few days after the prayer breakfast speech, the left-wing blog Vox released an interview it had done with Obama the previous month. Matthew Yglesias asked Obama if he thought the “media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism… as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease”:
Absolutely. And I don’t blame the media for that. What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right? If it bleeds, it leads, right? You show crime stories and you show fires, because that’s what folks watch, and it’s all about ratings. And, you know, the problems of terrorism and dysfunction and chaos, along with plane crashes and a few other things, that’s the equivalent when it comes to covering international affairs. There’s just not going to be a lot of interest in a headline story that we have cut infant mortality by really significant amounts over the last 20 years or that extreme poverty has been slashed or that there’s been enormous progress with a program we set up when I first came into office to help poor farmers increase productivity and yields. It’s not a sexy story. And climate change is one that is happening at such a broad scale and at such a complex system, it’s a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis.
Reading that statement in the context of the events of September 11, 2001, I believe President Obama is profoundly wrong. The 9/11 attacks cannot be so casually dismissed as “if it bleeds, it leads” news story. Let us never forget that those people in the World Trade Centers who were situated on the floors above where the planes hit were left with two choices — to be burned alive or to jump 100 stories to their deaths. It might very well be the most monumental tragedy ever to occur on American soil. At the very minimum, it ranks with the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy and the attack on Pearl Harbor as among the darkest days in the history of this country.
Yet Obama not only minimizes the importance of Islamic terrorism compared with climate change, he argues that terrorism is a symptom of climate change as he did this past May when he spoke at the commencement for the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut:
Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East. So, increasingly, our military and our combatant commands, our services — including the Coast Guard — will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready.
Given that the Coast Guard operates on water it certainly must be concerned with the weather and always has been. But last I checked, California has been in a drought for several years. Yet it hasn’t resulted in the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Santa Barbara. Islamic terrorism and the ideology underpinning it transcends wealth, weather, and world geography.
A few days before Hillary likened Republicans to terrorists, Obama made a point of stating in an interview with ABC that gun-related deaths in America “dwarfed” those caused by terrorism. To be precise, Obama said, “What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.” While it is statistically true, Obama’s argument is a classic case of not seeing the trees for the forest. I defy Obama to tell me when in the history of this country that 3,000 people have died of gunshot wounds in the same place and at the same time. If Obama truly believes terrorism to be such a trivial matter, then why doesn’t he remove regulations that require us every time we board an airplane to remove our belts and shoes, dispense with any liquids over three ounces, and to be subject to body scans and pat-downs? Don’t count on this happening. Obama is not going to pass up an opportunity to expand the federal government — except when it comes to the military. Nor is he going pass up an opportunity to minimize Islamic terrorism.
So when President Obama and Hillary Clinton speak their platitudes on this anniversary of 9/11, let’s not forget that our possible future President casually compares Republicans to terrorists while our current one thinks that we should get off our high horse about Islamic terrorism because of misdeeds committed by Christians centuries ago, is overstated by the media and just isn’t as important as gun violence and climate change.
Whatever Obama and Hillary have to say about September 11th this year or any other, do not believe them.