President Barack Obama’s tirade on June 14 was filled with angry passion. His rhetoric was not directed against the perpetrator of the Orlando attack and his ilk, however, but against the (unnamed) GOP nominee and others who do not subscribe to Obama’s fundamental views on the nature of Islam and his “strategy” of confronting the threat.
With great passion Obama lashed at those who have called him soft on terrorism, alleging that “loose talk” about Muslims has been detrimental to the U.S. action against militant groups in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is clear that Obama’s understanding of “loose talk” covers all attempts at critical scrutiny of what he, Hillary Clinton, and countless others in the Duopoly still insist is a peaceful and tolerant religion which should not be tainted by the violent actions of a tiny, aberrant and unrepresentative minority.
It should be noted that the original meaning of “loose talk”—as the term was extensively used in both world wars—is disclosing accurate and operationally useful information to unreliable persons who may pass it on to the enemy. If Obama and his speechwriters knew English and history, they’d realize that the meaning of his “loose talk” remark is not exactly what he had in mind: yes, we know the ugly truth, but we should not talk about it openly, because we don’t want them to know that we do know what they are all about.
Obama derided the demand by his critics that he call acts of terrorism the result of “radical Islam”: “We can’t get ISIL unless we call them ‘radical Islamists.’ What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is, none of the above . . . ” Obama is spectacularly wrong. Calling a threat by its right name—which he dismisses as a mere “label”—is the key prerequisite to developing a meaningful strategy. His mandated label of long standing—“violent extremism”—he did not use in his address, however, thus implicitly acknowledging its irritating and politically damaging absurdity.
Obama’s deliberate attempt to create logical and semantic confusion about the nature of the threat is not immediately apparent to the unwary, and it is so dishonest as to bring into question his basic motives. He implicitly suggested that “the threat” is already clearly defined in all its key aspects, and that any debate over “the label” is therefore a mere “political distraction.” To understand the pernicious nature of Obama’s argument we need to revisit his address announcing his phony anti-ISIS campaign two years ago.
“ISIL is not Islamic,” Obama told the nation in September 2014. “No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.” Since making this surreal statement Obama has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. Three weeks earlier earlier, in the aftermath of James Foley’s beheading by the Islamic State, he declared—also in the context of absolving Islam of any connection with the IS—that “no just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” Since they did murder Foley, this meant that—in Obama’s world—there is no God, or that God is not just.
Contrary to Obama’s assurances, Islam does condone the killing of infidels (Christians and other non-Muslims) and apostates (Shiites): they are not “innocents” by definition. And of course Muslims have been killing other Muslims—often on a massive scale—ever since three of the four early caliphs, Muhammad’s immediate successors, were murdered by their Muslim foes. It is immaterial whether ISIS is true to “Islam” as Obama chooses to define it. It is undeniable that it is true to the principles and practices of historical Islam.
Back in September 2014 Obama either did not know what he was talking about, or else he was practicing a variety of taqiyya. A related falsehood was Obama’s 2014 assertion that “in a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality”: “They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide.” There is absolutely nothing “unique” in any of the above. By acting in such manner, the jihadists belonging to the IS are only following the example of their prophet. Muhammad executed Meccan prisoners after the battle of Badr in 624AD. He condoned the killing of women and children besieged in Ta’if in 630. He and his followers enslaved, raped and forced into marriage Jewish women after he massacred the men of the Jewish tribes of Banu Qurayza in 627 and Banu Nadir in 629. He even “married” one of the captured Banu Nadir women, Safiyya bint Huyayy, who was captured after the men Banu Nadir were massacred. He did not “threaten” the Jews of the Arabian peninsula with genocide, he carried that genocide so thoroughly that not a trace of them remains today.
Obama’s distortions and outright lies about Islam are nothing new. All key points of his narrative and subsequent policy decisions were presented in his June 2009 speech to the Muslim world at Cairo University. In this age of instant historical amnesia we need to revisit this event in order to understand what is happening today. The President opened his remarks by asserting matter-of-factly the sanctity of the Muslim holy book: “As the Holy Koran tells us, Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” He proceeded to tell a host of outright lies on the nature of Islam, or on America’s relationship with the Muslim world, and on the terrorist threat.
My verdict on Obama’s Cairo speech seven years ago can still be applied to his Washington DC speech on September 14, 2016:
Obama was right to assert that relations “between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it is not.” He is not telling the truth about what Islam is and what it is not, however. He is quite unworthy of our trust regarding relations between America and the greatest threat the Western world faces in the century ahead of us. That colossal failure alone makes Barack Hussein Obama wholly unfit for the post he currently occupies.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.