by Daniel Greenfield
The mass riots and attacks on embassies do not mark the moment when Obama’s foreign policy imploded. That happened a long time ago. What these attacks actually represent is the moment when the compliant media were no longer able to continue hiding that failure in bottom drawers and back pages.
The media successfully covered for Obama’s retreat from Iraq, and the weekly Al Qaeda car bombings and rush to civil war no longer make the news. The media have also done their best to cover for Obama’s disaster in Afghanistan which has cost thousands of American lives while completely failing to defeat the Taliban.
Obama had hoped to cover up his defeat in Afghanistan by cutting a deal with the “moderate” Taliban, but the Taliban, moderate or extreme, refused to help him cover his ass. Attacks in Afghanistan have escalated, but the media have avoided challenging the bizarre assertions from the Obama campaign that the mission has been accomplished and Karzai will be ready to take over security in a few years.
And then the Islamists did something that the media just couldn’t ignore. They staged a series of attacks on American embassies and foreign targets beginning on September 11. These attacks, the most devastating and public of which took place on September 11, were accompanied by Islamist black flags and chants of, “We Are All Osama” in countries across North Africa and the Middle East.
The media have done their best to avoid dealing with the implications of Islamists carrying out a coordinated series of attacks on everything from foreign embassies to peacekeeping forces in the Sinai, by focusing on a Mohammed movie which the Egyptian Salafists exploited for propaganda purposes, rather than on the tactical support and level of coordination required to launch such a broad series of attacks and what the attacks and their scope say about the transformation of the conflict from stray attacks by terrorist groups to armed militias taking control of entire regions.
Rather than doing their job, the media seemed to be dividing their attention between reporting on the carnage without any context and putting out talking points to prevent Mitt Romney from taking political advantage of the disaster. The media’s accusations that Mitt Romney was politicizing the conflict were absurd, especially coming after the New York Times ran an editorial on September 11 attacking George W. Bush for not preventing the attacks of that day and after five years of Obama and his media allies politicizing every suicide bombing in Iraq.
While American embassies burned, the media were determined to go on doing what they had been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They had covered for Obama in three disastrous wars, one of which he had begun and which had exploded in the faces of staffers at the Benghazi consulate. And they are still covering for him, but the conflict has moved beyond the point where it can be relegated to the back pages of the daily papers.
Obama had hoped that the Islamists would see the advantage of allowing him to save face and give them another term of the same inept appeasement disguised as diplomatic soft power. Instead the Islamists seized on his weakness and trumpeted it to the world to humiliate him and the country that he had been temporarily placed in charge of.If Obama had really understood Muslims, the way that he claimed he did during the election, then he would have known that this was coming all along. The way of the desert raid is to catch the enemy at his weakest and most vulnerable, and to humiliate him for that weakness in the eyes of his peers. In the honor-shame culture of Islam, there is only room for honor or shame. Obama tried to cover his shame and retain his honor and his enemies tore that façade of honor away from him and left only shame.
As Churchill said to Chamberlain, “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.” Obama tried to have it both ways; he wanted the appearance of being a strong honorable leader who wins wars, while pursuing a cowardly and dishonorable policy. Obama chose dishonor in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now finds that he has a war to deal with anyway.
Perhaps it was the empty bragging of a weak man about killing Bin Laden that infuriated them, but most likely it was the weakness that he showed by relying on drone attacks while cutting the military that led the Islamists to launch a series of global raids on American targets. What looked like smart strategy to the DC technocrats told the Islamists that the United States was no longer willing or able to send troops into combat. Drone strikes might take out Al Qaeda leaders with minimal collateral damage, but were useless when crowds of Islamist raiders in major cities were overrunning American embassies and consulates.
It would have been in the interests of the Islamists to let Obama save face, retreat from Afghanistan and give them another four years of a free ride. But the Salafis carrying out the raids are not the cunning variety that Obama bows to when meeting with the Gulf royals, nor are they even the businessmen of the Muslim Brotherhood. What they want are military victories in the old Mohammedan style, rather than winning elections or tricking the West into overthrowing regimes for them.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudis would not have chosen to humiliate Obama because they need him. The Salafis carrying out the raids, as opposed to the ones shaking hands with US officials in Cairo, don’t care about American elections; they care about blood in the streets and swords in the air. These are the sorts of people who fly planes into buildings without considering what this will do to the plans to use immigration to change the demographic balance of Europe and set off bombs near NATO bases without caring that this will slow down the withdrawal of the infidel troops. They are true believers and they believe that it is their unthinking commitment to Islam that will give them victory, rather than the calculations and manipulations of their more upscale Salafi brethren in Riyadh and Cairo.
The attacks have exposed the naked failure of Obama’s foreign policy. The sight of American embassies burning across the Muslim world has done what the deaths of thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan and a near civil war in Iraq could not do.
Obama has lost the wars, he has lost the peace and now he has also lost the lies.
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