Drudge, the master of collation and juxtaposition, strikes again.
I have Sally Field stuck in my head, exclaiming, “You like us, you really like us!” Ironically, of course.
It’s difficult to blame President Obama very much for the chaos. He certainly gave things a big push by tossing Hosni Mubarak under the bus, and Secretary Clinton’s performance has been lackluster at best. But mostly, the violence is just the latest symptom of the Arab world’s descent from sanity. Some American leadership here would save some lives, but nothing fundamental will change until two things happen:
1. Araby learns to function politely in the modern world.
2. And hahahahahahaha like that’s ever going to happen in our lifetimes.
So there you have it.
Here’s what Obama got wrong. His Drone War has been both tough and effective at taking out al-Qaeda’s leadership. It has also really pissed off the Arab Street. That’s fine — we’re used to having the Arab Street angry. They’re professionally angry; it’s what they do. The problem is, the president has tried (as is his wont) to have his cake and eat it, too. He’s tried to balance his tough guy Drone War with a personal approach of acting all lovey-dovey, cuddly-wumpus with Islam. But you can’t claim the godlike power to rain down death from above, while demanding to be loved. It makes you look feckless and weak, as though you don’t have the courage of your deadly convictions.
The Arab Street has caught on, and (with a little push from al-Qaeda?) is doing what it loves to do best: A bit of the old ultraviolence. Some killing, some rape, some burning — you know, Street-y stuff.
Meanwhile, another selection from Drudge.
Could we have been any more unprepared? Could we have been any more willfully blind?
It’s a longtime American tradition that we get our asses handed to us in the first battle of any new war. Think of the First Battle of Bull Run, Pearl Harbor, Kasserine Pass, Task Force Smith — we Americans certainly know how to throw a losing opening battle. The miracle of Gulf Wars I & II is that we didn’t waste bunches of green soldiers in the opening battles. Of course, we were fighting Arab armies, which put us at a distinct advantage. Arab armies are typically pretty easy to beat; but conquering Arab peoples is next-to-impossible. I don’t know if “Act Like Angry Scheming Violent Children Until the Invaders Pack Up and Leave” was invented by Arabs, but they certainly perfected it.
You have to ask yourself: Is a western embassy in the Middle East seen as an occupying force? To some Muslims, the answer might be Yes. Islam divides the world in two. There’s the House of Peace, where Islam rules. And then there’s the House of War, which is the rest of us infidels — good only for converting, killing, or enslaving. For hardliners then, yes, an infidel institution inside the House of Peace probably is no better than a Crusader army. And what a lovely excuse for violence, especially in an age when world affairs are in large part defined by Araby’s angry impotence.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. And the groveling and fecklessness from the White House have got to stop. But very little can be done to stop the devolution of power away from the Arab capitals and towards the Arab Street. The new “leadership,” if that isn’t too strong a word, from Tunisia to Egypt (and eventually to Syria) is based on street power. And terror groups like al-Qaeda, which thrive on instability, have a vested interest in keeping the fires stoked.
So the Drone War might now be even more important than ever. But so is the demonstration of American resolve and seriousness. And those are two things we won’t see without a change of leadership at the State Department, and without a change of address for the current occupant of the White House.