"Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason." –Benjamin Franklin
One man at the UN gets it — Netanyahu drew the red line for Iran’s nuclear program
After two weeks of steady denials that recent strikes on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, were terrorist attacks — along with blaming a YouTube clip for violence and unrest in all of the Muslim world — this week opened with another smooth move from Team Hope-n-Change.
Kicking off his latest oratorical mini-seminar this week at the UN General Assembly, Barack Obama belted out a 30-minute paean to free speech and tolerance. He also grudgingly reserved only two paragraphs near the end of his screed to address what should have been his main point, the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Although two weeks late-to-need, the speech was nonetheless underwhelming when it finally arrived.
While the majority of his remarks were supposed to be devoted to advocacy for free speech and mutual respect between differing religions and worldviews, Obama undermined his own case by once again rejecting the individual free speech rights of the producer of the 14-minute YouTube clip, "The Innocence of Muslims." He declared that the "crude and disgusting" video had "sparked outrage" among Muslims for its disparaging remarks about Mohammed. (As a side note, the man responsible for the video, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was arrested Thursday because unsupervised Internet activity allegedly violates his parole from a previous conviction.)
At once alienating the U.S. government from this particular individual’s right to free speech, Obama apparently saw no irony in affirming a commitment to that constitutional right for Americans. He must have been thinking in terms of "collective rights" — the only kind statists allow — so this oversight is somewhat understandable. It’s also interesting to note that just the day before this denunciation, Obama told the leftist gaggle on "The View" that "the best way to marginalize that kind of speech is to ignore it." Obviously, he thinks the best way to "ignore" such a video is to denounce it in six different languages at the UN General Assembly.
Of course, immediately after stating that the U.S. Constitution protects free speech, he went on to make this pathetic addition: "I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that." If the video is indeed one of the causes of violence in the Muslim world, it becomes self-evident that those affected countries are not exactly huge fans of free speech and tolerance. Pakistan tops our list as "most tolerant," after Pakistan’s railway minister offered $100,000 to anyone who kills the maker of the video.
To be sure, Obama did attempt to make a case against extremism, reminding his audience, "Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism." While technically correct, it’s another Obama half-truth as most Muslim suffering is self-inflicted. None of these attacks and protests were the work of non-Muslims. (In related news, the New York display of the taxpayer funded "art" piece "Piss Christ," in which a crucifix is submerged in the artist’s urine, did not cause rioting or murderous violence from Christians.)
Throwing gas on the fire, Obama let loose a string of "the future must not belong to" so-and-so remarks, including, "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." He followed up this statement with a quote from Gandhi and a pleasant bromide about condemning intolerance, generally. Which statement is more likely to be repeated by Muslim extremists?
Again, perhaps the president should have focused on the imminent danger posed to the world by Iran. The ongoing Iranian nuclear crisis warranted short shrift in Obama’s speech — clearly, the matter is not a priority for him. Maybe it should be, though: In his usual, even-keeled delivery, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week again called for the "elimination" of Israel. We suppose this sounds slightly better than the phrase he used in 2005 — that Israel should be "wiped off the map" — but it still reflects deadly intent and nukes would be a tool to that end.
Nor would Obama meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned that Iran will effectively have a nuclear weapon by next summer, and helpfully drew a literal red line so the illiterates at the UN understand. The president was too busy chatting with the harpies on "The View" to be bothered with what he told "60 Minutes" was "noise." Obama’s priorities are so out of whack, even NBC News Obamaphile Andrea Mitchell scolded, "This was not the moment to sit down with ‘The View.’"
No, it was actually the moment to sit down with other world leaders, one-on-one, in serious discussions about grave matters, as many foreign heads of state — including Israel’s Netanyahu — had asked him to do. However, that task fell to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. No doubt foreign leaders were unimpressed by the president’s acting like they didn’t exist.
Something else didn’t exist, either: respect from the president for those who were murdered in Libya. In that same "60 Minutes" interview, the tone-deaf Leader of the Free World referred to the violence in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, including the context of four murdered Americans, as "bumps in the road." As columnist Charles Krauthammer notes, "If Romney had said that the death of our ambassador, the attack on our embassy, the death of three other Americans, the hoisting of the black al Qaeda flag over four U.S. embassies, and demonstrations all over the Middle East all the way to Indonesia including a burning in effigy of Obama in Sri Lanka of all places is a bump in the road, it would be a three day headline." Indeed. The president’s statement is disgraceful.
We close where we started: remember those denials of terrorist attacks on American sovereignties abroad? Well, not so fast. Now Secretary Clinton has conceded "preliminary findings" that, yes, well, indeed these attacks might have been terrorist strikes after all. But don’t judge the administration too harshly for having zero situational awareness on the entire set of events. After all, who could have known that rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) used in coordinated attacks against American assets on the anniversary of 9/11 "might" suggest a link to terrorism?