President Obama Must Choose Sides

There appears to be a battle raging within Barack Obama. How this war is resolved will decide how we fight the war on terror and determine if we win it at all. In his speech last spring in Cairo, Mr. Obama said, "I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." Defending the honor of Islam and protecting Muslims is one of the goals that Barack Obama has set for himself. It constitutes a personal definition of his presidency. But is he doing so to the point of misleading the public in general, and at the risk of jeopardizing the American people in particular?

The near-deaths of three hundred people on Christmas due to an Islamic terrorist plot -- an act of war against America -- did not rouse Obama from golf and relaxation until three days later. When he finally spoke, he disrespected us, as before, by claiming that this was a "lone event" disconnected from anything larger. But most Americans knew what it was, and the subsequent reports and al-Qaeda announcement told us that this was an act of jihad, a part of the larger scheme of radical Islam in its war against America.

After the Fort Hood massacre, the president's first reaction was to intone the silly assertion that we "do not know what prompted this outrage." In fact, everyone immediately intuited what was verified more each day after the carnage: that devotion to the Islamic cause generated Nidal Hasan's decision to kill American infidels. The president was strangely unwilling to tie these murders to Islam or jihad or imams, even knowing that the jihadist yelled "Allah aqbar" as he mowed down innocent Americans.

In all these matters, Mr. Obama's first concern seems to protect things Islamic rather than name and fight the Islamism intent on destroying us. This attitude predates his presidency, and it is one of the animating and personal goals of his worldview. Even before becoming senator of Illinois, he tells us in The Audacity of Hope (pp.261) of his earlier decision: "I will stand with them [Muslims] should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." For Barack Obama, the recognition that this is not simply generic "extremism," as he likes to call it, but specific to Islam and carried out by devout young Muslim men borders on the "ugly direction" against which he promised to stand. But by so doing, Mr.Obama is misleading the country and standing in the way of the measures needed to protect the American people and win the war on terror.

What we get from the president after each incident is not a tough, impassioned call to wipe out jihadists, but the warning that we "should not rush to judgment" or draw any conclusions regarding Islam or Muslims. The more Islamic terrorism, the more warnings we receive from him not to mischaracterize Islam. But how can the American public be accused of "rushing" to judgment when this has been happening before our eyes for thirty years already? After decades of these incidents -- and they are coming quicker now -- Obama expects us to participate in his cover-up for Islam by immediately agreeing that these attackers are either "alone," or "misfits," or "crazy." They are not crazy, but devoted to a cause; not misfits, but fit into a very large Islamist groupthink; not alone, but part of an ideology, most often coordinated by Islamists and clerics higher up. These are agents of Islamism on the same level as the German agents of Nazism who tried to do damage within our borders during WWII. At least back then, the safety of the home-front was more important to our leaders than protecting "feelings."

Until President Obama acknowledges the Islamic context behind these acts of worldwide jihad, we Americans remain at great risk. One cannot vanquish what he does not believe is a culprit. And thus, the most likely candidates setting out to kill us -- Islamic young and mostly single men under 40 -- are not routinely checked, nor are the mosques where many of these plans are hatched and coordinated. Obama and his people are elevating and sanctifying the doctrine of "no profiling" as if it were a fundamental principle of humankind more important than life itself.  A society that suspends analytical and rational judgment in favor of a politically correct fantasy is on the road to unscientific darkness and eventual suicide. One hopes that Mr. Obama is guided by foolishness only and nothing more.

Barack Obama's failure to tell the truth about Islamism goes beyond the routine excuse-making of the politically correct ideology that has negatively infected our country. Mr. Obama's preoccupation here is personal. Though not a practicing Muslim, nor a visibly practicing Christian, in office, he has a cultural and ethnic fidelity to Islam that skews common sense and is resulting in harm to our nation. After all, Islam is a culture in which Obama was raised. It represents to him what Americanism and the Judeo-Christian ethos represent to us who were raised in them. Obama grew up in Islamic Indonesia from age 6 to 12 -- formative years, the years in which the subconscious is molded --and he seems to have liked it very much.

"One of the prettiest sounds on Earth," as Obama told The New York Times in March of 2007, "is the Moslem call to prayer." Such warmth of identification is to be expected concerning those things that supply a childhood. As a youngster, Obama was identified as a Muslim, and he spent two hours a day in elementary school studying Islam. He seems unwilling to move beyond his youthful, rose-colored view of a more-secular Islam to today's facts. He remains fixed in his adoration, as demonstrated during his Cairo tour, when he referred to the Quran as the "Holy Quran." He never waxes that way about our Constitution, for that was not his mother's milk. The dozens of citations in the Quran allowing murder and mayhem are to Obama not organic, whereas the allowance in our Constitution for the now-defunct system of slavery sours him on its entirety. Yet for Obama, the Quran is not stigmatized, even with its numerous references and validations of slavery and its continuance of slavery even today by those who cite its authority.

In another address, Obama spoke not of Islam as a religion, but The Islam, The Path, as would someone who sees in it something transcendent. Never has he waxed reverent about America's accomplishments as he has about Islam's contributions to the world or his concoction of Islam's enormous contribution to the development of the United States.

The utter lack of pain and passion in Obama's non-emotional responses to both the Fort Hood massacre and the Christmas scare was striking. He spoke of it as he would a highway bill. I'm sure he is not happy, yet it doesn't seem to be personal. Contrast this with how he reacted and condemned the Cambridge police at Harvard regarding Professor Gates. He appeared to be affected -- because he was. And yet, Professor Gates was not terrorized as were the passengers aboard the Delta flight, who thought they would soon die.

All this rhetoric about not "profiling" (which is simply the use of rational judgment) and about not blaming Islam may sound "enlightened," but for Obama, it constitutes verbal weapons in defense of Islam. His war is not for victory over jihadism, but to defend the honor of Islam under today's difficult circumstances. For him, it is a balancing act between the Islam he loves and the duties imposed on him by the presidency.

It is hard to shed the teachings, culture, and religious life of one's youth. And the Islamic world is Obama's world. Much of his ethnicity and the people that are natural to him derive from it. Obama cannot conceive of a clash of civilizations where the one intent on destroying the civilization he's supposed to protect is Islam, his Islam. Obama will not allow sensible military rules of engagement that give maximum and routine protection for our soldiers if by so doing, some Afghan Muslims will lose their lives. He seems to identify with those people as much as he does our young Americans. He does not allow the necessary profiling of young, single Islamic men because he thinks of how that would make some of his own family members feel, as well as how the young Barack Obama would have felt. Those feelings are understandable for Barack Obama, private citizen, but not for a president of the United States.

Today's global mayhem and chaos is not from Basque terrorism. We Americans tolerate intrusive measures at airport check-ins not out of fear of another Timothy McVeigh or white neo-Nazis, as the ACLU wants us to believe. That's a deliberate obfuscation -- one that the president is endorsing -- and such obfuscation and denial invite danger. The jihadist relishes striking on Christmas specifically, since it is the goal of jihad to profane and degrade Christian and Jewish sacred time and sacred objects. Islam sees this as a contest between religions. Had we been allowed to acknowledge the Islamic content behind current terrorism, we would have been on especially high alert on Christmas Day.

Last November, we elected our first president with Islamic affinities and familial ties. The problem is that today's clash is with Islam. We need a president whose first loyalty and cultural empathy is to and with Americans. We don't have that in President Obama. He cannot forever dally and hide behind new "commissions" that have nothing new to tell us regarding what must be done. Obama must soon choose between his emotional need to protect Islam and his presidential requirement to protect the American people. Unfortunately for him, the two are not compatible.

Rabbi Spero is president of Caucus for America.