In the first five months of his presidency, Obama has traveled the world apologizing for the transgressions of America committed by the 43 previous administrations. He has used terms such as we "went off course," "lost our way," and "made mistakes." In the most recent leg of the never-ending apology tour, Obama addressed the Muslim World with one of the wordiest requests for forgiveness offered to date.
All of this under normal circumstances would be quite disturbing. But coming less than a decade after the atrocities of 9/11, these statements about America's sins against the Muslim world are alarming to hear from the mouth of the POTUS.
When pondering the accusation about who exactly has lost their way, one has to wonder what people were thinking when pulling the lever for a man whose middle name is Hussein, who descended from Muslims, lived and went to school in Indonesia, sat in the pews of, and befriended, an America-hating pastor, hung out with domestic terrorists, and married a woman who stated that the first time she was proud to be an American was when her husband won the Democrats' presidential nomination.
Notwithstanding the litany of reasons that Americans have to be proud, I will never forget the events of 9/11 and the way in which that tragedy pulled each and every citizen of this great country together. Perhaps because I live in New York and will never forget the sight of the smoke filling the sky just before the Twin Towers collapsed, I am forever changed.
However, those events touched citizens across the globe. I still have copies of letters sent to the law firm at which I worked from offices and clients around the world including Lisbon, Caracas, Quito, Paris, Kiev, Sydney, London, Mexico City, Oslo, Rio de Janeiro and Peoria. They all contained the same message: We are all Americans now.
And I remember my tears while watching David Bowie open The Concert for New York City on October 20, 2001 with "Looking For America" and "We Could Be Heroes." Six hours later Madison Square Garden was filled with the voices of everyone in attendance singing, "I will fight, for the right, to live in Freedom," Paul McCartney's closing song written for the occasion.
The weekend after the tragedy, I attended a memorial service for a neighbor who was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. The service was held at a park overlooking the Hudson River. While the smoke from the smoldering ashes of what was left of the World Trade Centers continued to billow into the sky, the community, led by both a Rabbi and Pastor, came together to pray. Noticeably missing from the service was an Imam.
And noticeably missing from the outrage in the days, weeks and months following the attacks on 9/11 was outrage by the Muslim community. The silence was deafening but for the cheers and euphoria, the applauding and clapping, and the jubilation pouring out of the "Muslim World" - the very people to whom Obama just spoke. As recently as May, 2006, the Deputy Chairman of the Egyptian Parliamentary Committee for Defense and National Security spoke on Saudi television claiming that "9/11 was carried out by American agents." Thus, I found it offensive to watch Obama in Egypt of all places, addressing the Muslim world with words of apology and respect as if given a mandate by the American people to bend over and say, "Thank you sir, may I have another."
President Bush kept Americans safe for the seven years following the attacks on our soil. If anyone has "lost their way," it is those Americans that have become complacent and self-righteous and who care more about the rights of the Muslim terrorists living in the lap of luxury in Gitmo than their fellow citizens who look to the government to protect them at home and abroad.
After listening to Obama, I pulled out old magazines and newspapers memorializing 9/11. New York Magazine ran covers those first two weeks with photos of the towers burning and pictures of the dead. One article in the October 1st issue entitled, "What We Mean When We Say ‘War'" began:
"It's payback time, and even former peaceniks have gotten in touch with their inner patriot."
Chuck Schumer published the following statement in a magazine entitled The Day That Changed America:
"We seek as guidance the generations before us who had their tragedies and also rose to the occasion. And rise to the occasion we must as well.
As an American, make no mistake about it, we are in a new America; a new world. We're now in a new era of conflict. There are forces who are against us, and they are in many corners of the world. They hate us for our freedom. They are against the very progress that we have made.
We are a resilient nation. We don't take anything on our knees. We're not going to take this. I assure the enemies of America, the enemies of freedom, the enemies of progress of that.
This is a long struggle, my friends. It is not an easy struggle. But because of our freedom, because of our American way of life, we will prevail."
The editorial in the New York Times on September 12, 2001 entitled "The War Against America; An Unfathomable Attack" stated:
"It was, in fact, one of those moments in which history splits, and we define the world as ‘before' and ‘after.'...
We look back at sunrise yesterday through pillars of smoke and dust, down streets snowed under with the atomized debris of the skyline, and we understand that everything has changed...
But it is...important to consider the intensity of the hatred it took to bring [the attack] off. It is a hatred that exceeds the conventions of warfare, that knows no limits, abides by no agreements."
Other NYT editorials that day were entitled "New Day of Infamy" and "A Different World." And the front page of the New York Post included a photograph of downtown Manhattan with the Twin Towers still standing and a headline that read "Lest We Forget."
The day after Obama's Cairo speech, he spoke in Normandy commemorating the 65th anniversary of D Day and told the world that "we must not forget" those memories. Has Obama, however, forgotten the memories and lessons of 9/11? Just as Obama began his Mideast apology tour, al Qaeda beheaded a British tourist who was kidnapped while touring in Northern Africa. Not surprisingly, while Gordon Brown condemned yet another "appalling and barbaric act of terrorism," the Muslim world once again remained silent. Except for a statement on the al Qaeda website which said:
"The British captive was killed so that he, and with him the British state, may taste a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day."
What the website failed to note was at whose hands those innocent Muslim lives are taken. Similarly, what was noticeably missing from Obama's Cairo speech was recognition that the common denominator seen in every single act of global terrorism is Islam.
The Muslim silence was also broken by Osama bin Laden who, just prior to Obama's Mideast love fest, claimed that Obama was planting seeds for "revenge and hatred" towards the US in the Muslim world. While I certainly do not accuse Obama of stoking more hatred than already exists, what I do accuse him of doing is veering off course, losing his way and making mistakes.
Obama may have won the presidency, but he did not win a mandate authorizing him to bow down to our enemies. Just under 60,000,000 Americans did not lose their way in the last election. We can only hope and pray that the 52.9% of the electorate that voted for Obama find their way back to the course on which America was founded - one which begins and ends with a fight for freedom.