The most outrageous thing about President Barack Obama’s “extremism” summit Wednesday was not that it failed to identify Islamic terror as the primary threat. Nor was it that there were several Muslim representatives with extremist views present. Nor was it that the president still refuses to acknowledge ISIS (or ISIL) as “Islamic”—even while referring to it by an acronym whose first letter stands for “Islamic” (rather than the transliterated Arabic acronym, “Daesh”).
Rather, the most offensive thing about Obama’s “extremism” summit was that the “dog and pony show” (as it was called by no less a liberal than MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell) was meant to be a substantive response to the horrific terror attacks last month in Paris at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and at a kosher supermarket before the Jewish Sabbath. Instead it was just more of the same limp prevarication from Obama, as if the surge of terror had never happened.
It is instructive to remember that Obama’s response to Sep. 11, 2001 was to cast the attacks as “a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others,” an absence that “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.” Not a mass murder motivated by a specific religious ideology. Not an act of war requiring more than “dismantling” the groups who did it.
Obama is governing the country from within a Sep. 10 mindset—one that sees terror as a matter of law enforcement, rather than war. The fact that mistakes have been made in the conduct of that war does not change the fact that it is a war. Obama’s refusal to acknowledge that reality has led to retreat after retreat. Today, the U.S. is arguably in a weaker position than on Sep. 10, 2001—and Obama’s repeated obfuscations are making America weaker still.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak