Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld blamed President Obama’s apologies and policies of blaming America for the ills of the world as the root cause behind the anti-U.S. violence that erupted recently in the Muslim world.
“Across Middle Eastern and Islamic capitals, we are seeing our American embassies and consulates overrun and burned, walls breached and windows smashed,” Mr. Rumsfeld said Tuesday night during the keynote speech before about 600 people at the 30th anniversary banquet of The Washington Times.
The killing of U.S. diplomats and security personnel and the burning of American flags and their replacement in some cases with the al Qaeda flag is the Islamic world’s response to Mr. Obama’s policies of apologizing and criticizing the United States, he said.
“This is the response to the president’s so-called ‘new era of civility and understanding,’” Mr. Rumsfeld said.
“Instead of taking a firm stance against those who attack our embassies and our diplomats, this administration reserves its harshest words of condemnation for a provocateur video maker.”
Senior Obama administration officials, instead of defending constitutional free-speech rights, “dignified [the anti-Muslim video] as the pretext to rage and riot.”
Radical Islamists used similar pretexts to kill in the past, and it is not what motivates them to slaughter innocents, he said.
“These are weak, convenient justifications that are all too willingly accepted,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “Yet our nation’s current leaders seem more interested in making excuses for our enemies than in defending the ideals on which America was founded.”
The problem, he said, is not America but the intolerant, backward ideology of radical Islamists that is at odds with ideals of freedom and equality.
“When President Obama went to Cairo in 2009, did he fail to realize that this radical ideology existed? Or did he simply choose to ignore it?” he asked, noting there are still “violent men planning to come out from their corners and attack the innocent.”
American citizens have a right to ask the administration if “apologizing for America and denying that we should take a leading role in global affairs led others to love us or to even like us,” he said.
The opposite has occurred, he said, noting that the United States tossed aside the Hosni Mubarak government in Egypt in supporting the “rule of the streets.” As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood is in control without the backing of the Egyptian people because the Islamists were the most organized opposition group.
The president’s policies sent a clear signal that the United States is weak and in decline, and the perception of U.S. weakness is dangerous, Mr. Rumsfeld said, repeating his oft-stated maxim: “Weakness is provocative. It is an invitation.”
“This is an administration in which the lawyers, academics and the wordsmiths who populate their ranks characterize acts of terrorism as ‘man-caused disasters,’ and the Fort Hood killings as ‘workplace violence.’
“They use phrases like ‘leading from behind’ or ‘transnational governance’ and ‘pooling’ our nation’s sovereignty with other countries. They seem to believe America’s policies should be based on an international consensus of the nations that dominate the U.N. General Assembly instead of on our Constitution and the decisions of our elected representatives.”