“Listen, doctor. I’ve got a boy here in cardiac crisis. You can’t treat that with Coca-Cola or Bisquick. We’re going to have to use real medicine this time. Now I’m sending him to Athens General. You’re his regular f*cking doctor, you get your fat ass out of bed, get down here and go with him!”
—Michael J. Fox as Dr. Benjamin Stone in Doc Hollywood
This is unforgivable.
As reported in the last post, last Wednesday Paris went into almost total lockdown mode after Islamist terrorists went on a bloody rampage at the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing twelve, including an unarmed police officer. They killed another cop on Thursday, and later engaged in a fiery hostage standoff with French police. Ultimately, seventeen people died in the biggest terrorist assault on French soil in memory.
Last Friday Obama paid lip service to U.S. support of the French in the wake of the hostage standoff:
“It’s important for us to understand—France is our oldest ally. I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow.”
Apparently Friday’s promise of tomorrow didn’t extend to the day-after-tomorrow.
On Sunday millions—literally millions—took to the streets of Paris in peaceful demonstration of solidarity against the barbarism of militant Islam. Some 40 presidents and other world dignitaries were there at the head of the march. Among those joining French President Francois Hollande were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Hell, even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas managed to be civil enough to show up at the same event together.
So, where was U.S. President Obama? I don’t know for sure—it’s a little early to be working on a March Madness bracket, even for him—but I can tell you where he wasn’t: he was not in Paris to join the other leaders of the free world in demonstrating for free speech and against Islamist terrorism.
He didn’t even bother to vote “present” this time.
Rusty, surely he sent Vice President Joe Biden to represent the U.S., didn’t he?
Well, of course he sent John Kerry then, right? I mean, that is kind of right down the middle of the job description for the Secretary of State, isn’t it?
It is, but sorry, Mr. Kerry couldn’t be troubled to reschedule his appointments in India.
The highest level U.S. official anywhere near the scene was lame-duck Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris for a previously-scheduled anti-terrorism conference, but skipped out prior to the rally so he could tape a softball interview for Meet The Press. [As an aside, query why an anti-terrorism conference is a task for the Attorney General as opposed to, say, the Secretary of Homeland Security, except that I guess it presents one last opportunity for a European vacation boondoggle on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime.] Thus, the U.S. delegation at the demonstration consisted of Obama bundler-turned-ambassador Jane Hartley.
In other words, when the whole of the civilized world finally stood up and stood together against the barbarism of radical Islam, the United States was effectively nowhere to be seen.
This is embarrassing beyond description.
Following the 9/11 attacks, President Bush—correctly, by the way—made the case that the struggle against the Islamists—he was more politically-correct than he should have been and labeled it a “war on terror”—was not just an American cause, but it was a cause for the entire free world. And on that theme he went to our allies around the world and persuaded them to join us in a campaign to root out and destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan as a message to all who would slaughter innocents in the name of Allah. France joined in that struggle, and 88 Frenchmen have made the ultimate sacrifice in that effort.
In short, when we sounded the clarion call for volunteers to man the ramparts against radical Islam, the French answered, “Oui!”.
Yet when it was France’s turn to be on the wrong end of a bloody scimitar, where was the U.S.?
It’s not about offering assistance, contrary to the flaccid excuses offered by Secretary Kerry. The French never needed our help tracking down and destroying the perpetrators of the immediate crisis at hand. It’s about leadership and solidarity against the greater global threat. Say what you will about the Al Sharpton, Quanell X, Jesse Jackson, and the like; at least these would-be black leaders know when to show up. When it comes to uniting the civilized West against the Islamists, the great superpower of the West simply cannot just post “#JeSuisCharlie” on Twitter and call it a day.
Of course, the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem, and this is where the rubber meets the road for this Administration. This President and his lackeys have a long and well-documented aversion to recognizing that the world faces a real and serious threat from the Islamists. Attending a global-scale rally would have been a tacit admission that last week’s events in Paris go beyond an isolated one-off incident, and are instead part of a much broader and much more serious problem. And that’s simply too much for an Administration that has the hardest time even pronouncing the word “terrorism,” much less using it in the same sentence with any form on the word “Islam.”
So what does it tell our allies that, when they gather to mourn their dead and cry out in defense of freedom in the face of Islamist violence, the U.S. essentially R.S.V.P.s “Non”?
What does it tell the Islamists that, when the Western world rallies in defiance against their acts of terror, ostensibly the most powerful nation on the planet can’t or won’t show its face?
Like it or not, the U.S.—at least until the Chinese call in our debt—occupies a unique position in the world, particularly the West. We cannot play ostrich and hope that by ignoring it or just not speaking its name the Islamist threat will just go away. The U.S. must be the tip of the spear at the vanguard of this fight, not hiding on the back bench behind the cheerleaders. We must lead.
This is a serious fight with serious stakes.
And we must be present to win.