I had planned to weigh in on the slaughter in Orlando right after it happened, but a sense of nausea intervened.
There was plenty of nausea to go around. You might think that the chief catalyst would be the scene of slaughter itself: the nearly fifty revelers at a gay nightclub dead, and scores more wounded by a single jihadist.
In a normal world, the spectacle of that carnage would have been the focus of revulsion. I confess, however, that the repetition of such acts of theocratic barbarism these past few decades has left me somewhat anesthetized.
The long, long list of “Islamist terrorist attacks” that Wikipedia maintains comes with this mournful advisory:
This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.
Indeed, and alas. Take a look at that list: one thing you will note — apart from the fact that the terrorist attacks are correctly denominated as “Islamist” terrorist attacks — is that most years include more attacks than the years before.
There were some 35 in 2014. I stopped counting at 100 for 2015.
So my initial reaction to the news from Orlando was a mixture of anger, outrage — and weariness. “Here,” I said to myself, “we go again.”
First came the casualty figures. Twenty dead. No, make that 30. Wait, it’s 40, no, 50 dead and scores wounded, many gravely. And the murderer? The world held its breath and the media prayed: Please, please, please make him a white Christian NRA member, or at least a crazed white teenager.
No such luck. Omar Mateen was the 29-year-old scion of Afghan immigrants. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Right off the bat his father assured the world that he was “saddened” by the massacre (wasn’t that nice?) and that Omar was “a good son.” Religion, he said, had “nothing to do with” his son’s rampage. He was just “angry” at gay people. So he suited up and headed down to the Pulse nightclub where he methodically shot some 100 people. Oh, and Mateen père has supported the Taliban, and claims to be running for the presidency of Afghanistan. (Cue the theme music from The Twilight Zone?)
It did not take long before the media realized that none of its preferred narratives was operative.
There was a flicker of hope that Mateen might at least be a gay-hating nearly white male (shades of George Zimmerman, the “white Hispanic“). But, no, although Mateen himself might, according to his ex-wife and others, have been gay, he had pledged himself to ISIS. He had also, in fact, attracted the interest of the FBI. It had interviewed him twice but decided that there was nothing to see here, move along please.
In most respects, this act of Islamic slaughter was a matter of déjà-vu all over again. There was the wrinkle that the Pulse, unlike the nightclub in Bali or the concert hall in Paris, was patronized mostly by gays. But homosexuals are only one of many groups that Islamists wish to exterminate. (Hence the Arab slogan “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people,” which can be seen and heard through the Middle East. First we’ll get rid of the Jews, then the Christians.)
And this brings me to the chief source of my nausea in response to the massacre in Orlando: the rancid, untruthful, politically correct nonsense emitted by the MSM and their chief pet, Barack Obama.
Obama’s speech in response to the massacre was especially emetic. Who or what was to blame for the slaughter? The internet, for one thing:
[T]he killer took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet. … He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.
Remember when Obama dismissed ISIS (or, as he likes to say, “ISIL”) as a “jay-vee” threat? That was right before those jihadists really got to work beheading people, burning them alive, and fomenting murder and mayhem in the West. Part of Obama’s speech was devoted to listing all the Islamic murderers his administration had killed or deprived of funds:
ISIL continues to lose ground in Iraq. ISIL continues to lose ground in Syria as well. ISIL’s ranks are shrinking as well. Their morale is sinking.
Obama also reserved a few swats for guns:
We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents.
But what if a few patrons of the Pulse had been packing heat and had had the good sense to hone their skills as marksmen? The same thing that would have happened at Virginia Tech, or Newtown, or the Paris concert, or the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Some enterprising citizen might have taken the madman, or madmen, out, thus materially diminishing or even eliminating the body count.
But Obama’s main concern focused on a linguistic matter, the phrase “radical Islam”:
[T]he main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize this administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us. We can’t beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists.
This is not true. No one has said that the word “Islam” or its cognates is the key to anything. What they — and I — have repeatedly said is that you can never deal with a problem unless you are willing to recognize it for what it really is. And part of that recognition involves calling things by their real names:
Since before I was president, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As president, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions.
Two points: first, extremist groups have not so much perverted Islam as they have enforced some of its central teachings.
As Andrew McCarthy put it: “Killing Homosexuals Is Not ISIS Law, It Is Muslim Law.”
Andy cites chapter and verse to show how the interdiction against homosexuality is rooted in Sharia, i.e., in Islamic law. I’ll just quote one passage, from the “moderate” Ayatollah al-Sistani. When asked “What is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?”, he replied:
Forbidden. Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.
Which brings me to my second point: Obama’s “Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world.” That would include that ally of allies, Saudi Arabia, one of at least ten Muslim countries where homosexuality is punishable by death (and which, incidentally, is reportedly responsible for at least 20% of the funds for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign).
Obama took time out to castigate “politicians who tweet,” i.e., Donald Trump. You may think, as I do, that some of Trump’s proposals about how to deal with the reality of Islamic terrorism (among other things) are extravagant.
But at least he is able to call Islamic terrorism “Islamic terrorism.”
Obama angrily insisted:
Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.
But this is no merely linguistic nicety. Barack Obama has consistently failed to deal with the “Islamic” part of the reality of Islamic terrorism. Indeed, his administration has prevented the military, law enforcement, and intelligence services from engaging forthrightly with the threat of Islamic terrorism. They have insisted, for example, that briefing materials be purged of any reference to the real source of the terrorist animus: the passion for jihad fired by allegiance to the fundamental law of Islam, sharia.
In his almost eight years in office, Obama has left this country, and indeed the world, poorer, more chaotic, more vulnerable. Perhaps it was all part of his promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” It is worth remembering what an important role his mendacious refusal to call things by their real names has played in this sorry, nauseating tale.
“What’s in a name?” Juliet asked Romeo. She found to her sorrow that the answer was “quite a lot.” Obama, if he has the wit to acknowledge it, will discover that as well.