First, they tried claiming that President Obama stayed home and watched football, instead of attending the huge Paris rally against Islamist terror like every other leader in the civilized world, because he was worried about the cost to American taxpayers or the security burden for France.
Now, Obama’s defenders are floating a theory that he didn’t have to say anything in Paris because the U.S. military has already spoken for him in Iraq and Afghanistan. He didn’t have to make an appearance at the rally, because drones have been appearing in the skies of Yemen to deliver his talking points via Hellfire missile. For crying out loud, this is the President who personally rappelled into Osama bin Laden’s hideout and killed him in a kung fu battle! If people anywhere on Earth still have questions about where Barack the Slayer stands on terrorism, that’s their problem.
There’s so much wrong with this dopey bit of excuse-making that it’s hard to know where to begin.
We might start by observing that the White House itself seems smart enough to avoid making this argument directly. Then we could take a look at Barack Obama’s actual record on fighting terrorism, which is not at all a story of steely-eyed determination to battle Islamist fascism wherever it rears its ugly head. This is the President who never saw ISIS coming, and directed his campaign surrogates to mock the smarter men who did. He tried to give Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood, and is still rather miffed that it didn’t work out, which is why the Obama Administration isn’t rushing to celebrate Egyptian President al-Sisi’s stand against Islamism. He even dithered for a dangerous amount of time before signing off on the bin Laden kill.
One might counter that the United States, as an entity, has been staking out a very aggressive posture toward fighting terrorism since 9/11, and one more speech in Paris isn’t going to make our position any more clear. That’s not how elective government works. Today’s president is not bound to stand by the policies of his predecessors – this particular president certainly has spent a great deal of time assuring a Democrat base driven around the bend by Bush-hatred that he doesn’t consider any of his predecessor’s positions graven in stone. Obama 2015 also strongly disagrees with Obama 2008 about a great many things, to the point that he expects his faithful worshipers to forget most of what Obama 2008 said. In fact, if you still remember most of what Obama 2014 said, you’re doing it wrong. Reiterating important policy positions is important. Failing to attend a world-historic event sends a message that no amount of previous American military action can completely mute.
There’s also the rather inconvenient matter of how the “Je Suis Charlie!” movement stands athwart one of Obama’s most famous previous speeches, his “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” address to the United Nations after Benghazi. The spirit of Paris is defiantly contradictory to everything Obama said about restricting free speech to avoid giving offense. Ever since gunmen slaughtered the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine, people have been asking if Obama still believes that the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. It’s a “yes or no” question, and he hasn’t come anywhere near giving an answer.
If Obama defenders advancing this “military already spoke for him” excuse truly believed what they were saying, they would gladly join small-government conservatives in slashing the White House budget and dismantling its immense media machine. It’s simply hilarious to watch Obama supporters suddenly decide that giving speeches is a waste of time and money.
However, the most serious problem with the latest excuse for Obama’s absence from Paris is that it directly contradicts everything liberals have been saying about Islamism, “Islamophobia,” and the No True Muslim argument that perpetrators of horrific violence are not valid adherents of the Islamic faith, no matter what they claim. How can bombing al-Qaeda in Yemen, or ISIS in Syria, or the Taliban in Afghanistan, possibly be sending a clear message to people who supposedly have absolutely no connection to those outlaw organizations? The point of the Paris rally was to send a message about tolerance, free speech, and religious liberty to the populations of Western nations – all populations, since the message was carefully phrased as a universal celebration of tolerance from everyone, and a rejection of all violent extremism. If killing Osama bin Laden and dropping bombs on ISIS is the only way that message needs to be delivered, then doesn’t it mean Obama apologists view the Muslim populations of the Western world as mere extensions of al-Qaeda and ISIS? No need for the President to give a stirring speech at the Grand Synagogue about free speech and tolerance, because you can look at the bombing campaign in Iraq for a taste of what you’ll get if you disagree!
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the creatures who murdered all those people in Paris were specifically upset about the very same bombing campaigns that Obama’s apologists say were good enough work to give him the day off for football on Sunday. During the Bush years, we heard a lot from liberals about how killing terrorists only makes the problem worse. They’re all supposedly like the Marvel Universe’s fictional terrorist organization HYDRA: cut off one head, and two more grow to take its place. Now they’re telling us that Obama’s secret drone death lists are such an eloquent statement against Islamism that he didn’t have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other world leaders and give a speech to help drain away the simmering pools of alienation, resentment… and, yes, religious fervor… from which ISIS and al-Qaeda are recruiting.
Get your stories straight, kids, and stop twisting yourself into pretzels to explain all of Barack Obama’s failures.