- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Barack, John and Hillary might as well be Peter, Paul and Mary.

While listening to President Obama’s and Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s responses to the latest Islamic terror attack in Paris, I thought I was hearing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” And from her mansion in Chappaqua, New York, Hillary Clinton seemed to be humming from the same hymnal.

Following the attack, Mr. Obama delivered official U.S. “condemnation” in his usually tepid way. He wouldn’t interrupt his busy football-watching schedule to march in Paris in solidarity with other western leaders.

It would be nice if the “leader of the free world” showed the same fire about fighting Islamic supremacism that he shows about fighting Republicans. But this is what you get when you put a committed leftist and American apologist in power.

Ditto Mr. Kerry, who issued a weaselly statement that also avoided any mention of “Islamism” and referred only to unspecified “extremists.”

The problem is that this attitude isn’t limited to Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry. It dominates the modern Democratic Party, which is now run by those who believe that since America has been a criminal power, we must retreat in contrition.

A few weeks before the al Qaeda attack in Paris, the woman who would walk over her grandmother to succeed Mr. Obama called for “respect” for our enemies:

“This is what we call smart power,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security. Leaving no one side on the sidelines. Showing respect even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand and in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.”

Understanding our adversaries’ ideology and ambitions has always been necessary. But Mrs. Clinton took it out of the realm of cold analysis and into Oprah-land of irresponsible oversharing and misdirected compassion.

In a few brief sentences, Mrs. Clinton reminded everybody why voters have traditionally trusted Republicans over Democrats to handle national security. Having grown-ups in charge of defeating our enemies is far preferable to having liberals invite them to join a Dr. Phil therapy session.

Mr. Obama himself gave us a glimpse of his Dr. Phil approach just eight days after the attacks of Sept. 11, when ground zero still smoldered.

On Sept. 19, 2001, the then-obscure Illinois state senator published an article in a nondescript Chicago-area publication, in which he spouted his deeply-rooted leftist psychobabble:

“We must also engage,” Mr. Obama wrote, “in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness.

“The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others.

“Such a failure of empathy,” Mr. Obama continued, “such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”

As if we should have responded to the attacks by airlifting food stamps and subsidized housing to al Qaeda.

More to the point: Most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were middle- to upper-middle-class and highly educated, not exactly the poor, desperate masses to whom Mr. Obama referred. The leftists always see ideological threats to our system the exact same way. Whether it’s totalitarian communism or totalitarian Islam, the left portrays these movements as byproducts of inequality and never as the militantly anti-American movements they are.

Mr. Obama went on to warn against overreacting, and then invoked “the children”: “Finally,” he wrote, “we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe .”

The United States had just been attacked and thousands had been slaughtered. And Mr. Obama took that moment to express compassion for the enemy, concern over imaginary American bigotry, and a desire to socially engineer the rest of the world.

No surprise, then, that as the Paris march for unity was proceeding without him, his White House announced that he will host a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” in February in order to bring together “social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention.”

“Social service providers.” Obamacare for all beheaders.

Mrs. Clinton’s statement expressed the same kind of navel-gazing nonsense. As they have presided over our diminished military, economic, diplomatic and political capability, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have placed rhetorical flowers in our enemies’ gun barrels.

This is what you get with leftists in power: downgrading of the U.S. superpower, extending “respect” to barbarians, and striving for “understanding.” And the ever-increasing aggression of our enemies, who have only contempt for an America run Dr. Phil-style.

Monica Crowley is online opinion editor at The Washington Times.

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