The Oval Office. When a president speaks from that storied venue, the world sits up and takes notice.
The stage set is reserved for the most weighty matters. It was built during FDR’s administration; on this 74th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, it is interesting to speculate on how FDR would have used it as a bully pulpit.
Barack Obama’s speech about America’s response to terrorism last night was only the third speech Obama has given from the Oval Office. In contrast to his last performance there — when he announced we had pulled out of Iraq [THIS IS A CORRECTION: I HAD SAID “when we had finally found and killed Osama bin Laden”: thanks to an attentive reader] — the mood this time was somber. The slaughter of those innocents in San Bernardino by Muslim terrorists last week, coming as it did on the heels of the slaughter in Paris by Muslim terrorists last month, confirmed what anyone with a shred of common sense has long known: terrorism circa 2015 is overwhelming perpetrated by Muslims.
Are all of the world’s billion Muslims, one-sixth of the global population, terrorists? Of course not, but the overwhelming majority of the world’s terrorists and supporters of terror are Muslims, and this fact completely undercuts the central premise of Barack Obama’s speech last night.
Obama says that the atrocity committed in California last week was carried out not by faithful Muslims, but by outliers following a “perverted” interpretation of Islam. Followers of the Islamic State, he said, do “not speak for Islam.”
Let’s pause to ask: Who does speak for Islam?
Saudi Arabia? It is the world’s most important Sunni Muslim state. One of the most ghastly things about ISIS is its followers’ penchant for beheading people, yet in 2015 alone, our “ally” Saudi Arabia has beheaded 151 people. I am surprised the number is not higher; the list of things that are capital offenses in Saudi Arabia is long and varied.
Apostasy makes the list. If you decide that Allah is not for you, it’s off with your head.
Want a glass of wine? Think twice. The consumption of intoxicants is on the list, as is consensual homosexual sex, adultery, and “sorcery or witchcraft.”
So, presumably, Obama would not let Saudi Arabia speak for Islam.
How about the world’s largest Shia state, Iran? Does it speak for Islam? If not, why not? Because it is just as much a barbaric cesspool as Saudi Arabia?
You see how it’s going to proceed. Last night, Barack Obama was at pains to distance us from “those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.” Well, with that statement Obama forbids the majority of the world’s Muslims, including the denizens of Islam’s chief states, from speaking for Islam.
Let’s forget conquest and terror: there are millions of folks who call themselves Muslims, yet want nothing to do with jihadist violence. Do they speak for Islam?
Well, if they affirm Sharia — Islamic law — then they cannot in principle affirm “the values of religious tolerance,” etc., so Obama does not allow these Muslims to speak for Islam, either.
In 1895, Winston Churchill called Islam “the strongest retrograde force in the world.” If Barack Obama had not been so eager to send back the bust of Winston Churchill in the White House to the Brits, perhaps he might have profited from his example.
His deplorable performance last night reminds us once again that the president is dangerously detached from reality, which our enemies surely recognize as well.