Commentary Magazine


Obama on 9/11: Get Over It

Obama’s remarks on 9/11 were about what you would expect from a president who has ridiculed his countrymen for overreacting to the most lethal terrorist attack on our soil and who can’t manage to utter the worlds “Islamic fundamentalists” or “jihadists.”

Really, let’s not dwell on the bad stuff, he tells us. “On this day, it’s perhaps natural to focus on the images of that awful morning — images that are seared into our souls. It’s tempting to dwell on the final moments of the loved ones whose lives were taken so cruelly.” Yes, it is tempting — because that is what the day is all about, to recall the diabolical work of our enemies and recommit ourselves to the defense of our civilization. But no, in his book, it’s about diversity training: “They were white and black and brown — men and women and some children made up of all races, many faiths. They were Americans and people from far corners of the world.”

As for the Islamist fascists who killed so many and made orphans and widows of many more, he has this to say:

It was not a religion that attacked us that September day — it was al-Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion. And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation. We champion the rights of every American, including the right to worship as one chooses — as service members and civilians from many faiths do just steps from here, at the very spot where the terrorists struck this building.

Oh, good grief. Yes, it was a religion — fundamentalist Islam that attacked us. Al-Qaeda is one organization but the jihadists attack because of religious beliefs. And they are anything but pathetic or, as he put it, ”sorry” — they did slaughter thousands, after all. And one cannot but wretch at the moral equivalence — just as we condemn Islamist zealots, we must rebuff those who don’t appreciate the desecration of “hallowed ground” ? Also, notice the sleight of hand: the Pentagon chapel he refers to is not a mosque, not the exclusive providence of Muslims but an interfaith facility that bears no religious monikers. (Hey, why not the same at Ground Zero?) His tone is one of condescension, revealing that his mission is to talk Americans out of their righteous anger.

It should shock no one that this is what gets Obama’s juices flowing. Reporters complain that Obama can’t muster the same enthusiasm and passion for the economy that he does for his Muslim outreach and his ongoing lectures about tolerance (e.g., the Cambridge cops were “stupid,” we must accommodate the mosque builders, etc.). Unfortunately, Obama has plenty of passion for the wrong things. At a high-school graduation this June, Justice Scalia reminded us:

I am here to tell you that it is much less important how committed you are, than what you are committed to. If I had to choose, I would always take the less dynamic, indeed even the lazy person who knows what’s right, than the zealot in the cause of error. He may move slower, but he’s headed in the right direction. … In short, it is your responsibility, men and women of the class of 2010, not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones. That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being: Good intentions are not enough. Being a good person begins with being a wise person. Then, when you follow your conscience, will you be headed in the right direction.

Unfortunately, we have a president who is not wise and who is terribly out of sync with the ethos of the American people. It is most troubling that the leader of the Free World has a zeal for bad causes. Not even the electoral wipe-out of his party, I fear, will change that.