The President's Make-Believe World

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For my money, PJ Media’s own Andrew C. McCarthy is one of the very best writers on the Islamist threat as seen from the west. Relentlessly honest and deeply informed, he avoids sweeping generalizations and any hint of bigotry but never turns his eyes from the truth of the situation. If you haven’t read his recent NRO article, “The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist,” you really should. It vivisects the presidential narrative of what’s happening in the Middle East. By listing and sometimes inventing names for small Islamist splinter groups, the president, McCarthy says, is trying to rewrite reality to show that he has “dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees.”


There is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries… Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.

“For a product of the radical Left like Obama,” McCarthy added, “terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict.”

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We got a taste of this fabulism in the president’s recent speech to the United Nations in which he compared the recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, to the horror show in the Middle East and Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. As the president called for UN support in fighting Islamic extremism, he added: 


I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within its own borders.  This is true.  In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri — where a young man was killed, and a community was divided.  So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions.  

Now, to be fair, Obama did go on to say that the United States deals with its problems in a better way than other nations. But a puling moral equivalence that compares a dubious police incident and some looting with the worldwide jihadi onslaught or the imperialist depredations of Vlad the Impaler Putin is just nuts. It denotes a view of the world that can’t tell the difference between imperfection and wickedness, or just between normal and tragically bad! “As I denounce Jack the Ripper’s murder of women, I know my critics will point out that I leave my towels on the bathroom floor sometimes, annoying my wife…” To hell with the critics. Jihad is evil; sharia is evil. They have to be stopped.

I think it was this utter lack of respect for real life that made the president’s Latte Salute so egregious, so despicable. Leftists mocked conservatives for expressing disgust over this small incident. They tried to compare it to a clumsy but properly executed salute George W. Bush once made with a dog in his arms. And normally, I’d take their point. It’s wrong to pick relentlessly on a public figure’s small mistakes. We can all be caught out in bad moments, especially with cameras on us 24/7.


But no, I have to confess, this particular small moment did seem to me indicative of a larger dysfunction. It wasn’t just a commander-in-chief’s breezy disrespect toward the people he sends off to kill and to die. It was the arrogant action of a man who doesn’t know what’s important because he doesn’t know what’s true. He lives inside his own insistent fantasy world rather than the real one. In that goofy kingdom, President Stardust has decimated the terror threat — and the threat was created by the sort of no-goodnik American who polices Ferguson. In that world, sure, the dear leader’s chai is more important than the mere rituals of honor. In fact, you and me and the Marines and everyone — why, we are just wandering blind on this dark shore, waiting to join the president on the right side of history in the sweet bye and bye.

It’s unfortunate the rest of us can’t live in that delightful place of the president’s imagination. We are stuck here in the mess he has made of reality, with jihad resurgent and the last, best hope of earth growing weaker by the day.


(Artwork created using a modified image.)


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