Another Tack: Hobson’s choice – The Obama variation

The only way Obama will rescue us from one existential peril is if we exacerbate another existential peril.

Thomas Hobson 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Thomas Hobson 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Was it really meaningless coincidence that just as an alarmed American administration closed down some 20 embassies and consulates throughout the Mideast – including the one in hardly unfriendly Tel Aviv – Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan delivered his opening court-martial statement?
Although superficially unconnected, these events are inextricably linked. Both expose the shoddy sham that US President Barack Obama struts out as enlightened policy. This should send cold shivers down the spines of those hoodwinked Israelis who still think Obama deserves even a modicum of our trust, to say nothing of actual sacrifice.
Hasan’s cold-blooded murder in 2009 of 13 and his wounding of a further 32 underscores Obama’s obsessive obfuscation.
As Hasan callously mowed down fellow servicemen, he yelled “Allahu akhbar” (“God is great).”
It later transpired that long before Hasan launched his attack, the Joint Terrorism Task Force was aware that he maintained steady contact with terror mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki, inquiring, among other things, about religious martyrdom. But forewarned isn’t necessarily forearmed. Following whatever logic, the authorities preferred to do nothing.
It gets worse. Self-deception didn’t only precede the bloodshed; it also incredibly followed it. And so the official line was that what took place in Fort Hood wasn’t terrorism but “workplace violence.”
Nonetheless, Hasan, who’s representing himself in court, didn’t subscribe to the “disgruntled employee” scenario. He told it like it was, even if the president and all his mouthpieces desire to claim otherwise.
“We the mujahideen are imperfect Muslims trying to establish the perfect religion in the land of the Supreme God,” he unhesitatingly proclaimed, identifying himself without a hint of equivocation as a jihadist warrior. But the truth is immaterial. The shooting is still not labeled as an act of terror.
This is no trifling slipup. It’s the product of a mindset that cripples America’s position in the world, harms its interests and – inter alia – could mean disaster for Israel.
The embassy closures are part and parcel of the bamboozlement that parades as sober strategy. One of Obama’s more striking fiascos was the attack on the US’s Benghazi consulate a year ago. As in Fort Hood, the administration strove its darndest to convince the gullible public that what looks like a terrorism and kills like terrorism isn’t terrorism.
And so the mind-blowing official line was that the American ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staffers were slain because of a stupid, obscure YouTube video. This was just as patently false as the “workplace violence” Fort Hood cover-up. Now, fearful of a rerun of the Benghazi-style non-terrorist event (on the anniversary of the original non-terrorist event), Obama preferred to run and hide from the enemy he said he had already defeated.
After having heard Obama’s crow triumphantly that “bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida is on the ropes,” we encounter a reality in which clearly al-Qaida has extended its reach, attracts lots more recruits, pockets lots more lucre, is lots more menacing and now frightens the world’s sole superpower into ignominious cowering. Al-Qaida is the bully who chases the wimp out of the schoolyard.
Does Obama come off looking like the winner in the war against terror? Hardly. But oops, hasn’t Obama consistently denied that such a war is at all waged?
Early in his first presidential term, when addressing Turkey’s parliament, Obama expressed profuse appreciation “for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including in my own country.”
This is Obama’s recurrent and persistent theme.
“We are not at war with Islam,” he has declaimed repetitively on numerous occasions. By inference, neither is Islam at war with America, or, for that matter with Israel – to say nothing of any other democracy where Muslim terrorists have set off an explosive device or two.
Suicide-bombing, we learn from the leader of the Free World, is a disagreeable felony of which anyone anywhere is capable – without ideology, infrastructure, broad backing, financial wherewithal etc. Thus Obama has variously described the perpetrators of 9/11 as “a sorry band of men” or “some small band of murderers.”
Accordingly, what’s needed to counteract them isn’t resolute and rigorous self-defense – certainly not war – but something more akin to pinpointed police action. That’s the rationale for trying Hasan as an irate workman rather than a jihadist terrorist and why the Benghazi slaughter was presented as comeuppance for an insult.
This indeed was the message Obama assiduously honed even when announcing Osama bin Laden’s demise. Even then he, significantly, made it his mission to remind the world that “we are not – and never will be – at war with Islam.”
On the narrowest pragmatic plane the sentiment isn’t entirely without merit. Why would America, Israel or any democracy desire to portray itself as taking on the whole Muslim world? The last thing we wish or need – or ever wished or needed – is a clash of civilizations.
But complicating our wishful thinking is the not-so-negligible matter of whether this is also how militant Islam interprets things. (For the purposes of this deliberation we can justifiably dispense with the travesty called “moderate Islam.” At best – if it’s at all real – Islamic moderation cringes abjectly in a murky twilight zone, mute and invisible).
The issue is whether vehement Islam, whose inflammatory rhetoric resonates worldwide, doesn’t regard itself as being in a war with us. Much as we abhor conflict, the choice isn’t exclusively ours.
If Islamists incite to battle, can we make do with sitting back, trying to see their point of view, making nice and attempting to sooth their frenzy with brotherly blandishments?
This precisely is Obama’s advice. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for the hype that his righteous posture and personable traits can soothe all adversity. Everything boils down to persuasion. And so Obama expected an assortment of the worst international baddies to reward his reasonableness with gentleness and justice.
The Muslim world is seething with its own self-generated turmoil, but Obama’s agenda stays immutable. In our arena he’s still intent on removing the presumed triggers for Muslim rage. This is where Israel comes in – the much-demonized fly in the Arab/Muslim ointment and the regional-scale counterpart to Hasan’s workplace disenchantment or to the YouTube affront.
To judge from Obama’s glib patter, all which kindles Arab/Muslim volatility are the territories Israel won in the Six Day War (when a beleaguered small nation, openly threatened with genocide, was forced to defend itself).
Browbeaten, we play along, in the desperate hope that we’ll thereby gain a morsel of approval. Hence Netanyahu acquiesced, despite himself, to the two-state cliché instead of exclaiming that it’s nothing but a red-herring – a propaganda ploy geared to divert world attention from much more sinister ultimate objectives vis-à-vis the Jewish state. Little Israel’s very existence ignites Arab passions, not its size.
This hankering after the morsel compelled Netanyahu to restart negotiations based (admit it or not) on the Obama’s implicit diktat – a return to the pre-1967 Green Line (the 1949 armistice lines).
In essence, Obama demands we cede 95 percent of everything beyond 1949 lines, and offer giveaways for the remaining 5%. These are capitulation terms rather than the victor’s magnanimity. We often forget that we were forced to defend ourselves in 1967 and that we won.
Wholesale retreat would mean the wholesale need to re-house hundreds of thousands of uprooted Israelis, the encirclement of re-divided Jerusalem and the rise of a new Hamastan – on the direct doorstep of most us in densely packed central Israel.
Hamas will triumph in judenrein Judea and Samaria just as it had in judenrein Gaza. Just as Jimmy Carter’s credulity bequeathed us the ayatollahs’ theocracy and spawned a belligerent Iran with nuclear ambitions, so Obama will leave us an Iranian proxy atop Israel’s soft underbelly.
And just to facilitate placing our collective national head in the noose, Israel was obliged to pay an entry fee to the gallows via the release of some of the worst convicted terrorist mass murderers behind bars.
Rumor is that Netanyahu was lured by promises of American participation in stymieing Iran’s nukes project. Though thoroughly unsubstantiated, the implied trade-off is that Israel must mount the Palestinian gallows in order to dodge the Iranian bomb.
Proponents of this narrative maintain that Israel is helpless against Iran and depends for its survival on American anti-Iranian action. The only way Obama will rescue us from one existential peril is if we exacerbate another existential peril.
We can choose between being threatened by Tehran’s nukes or by Ramallah’s terrorists – after we’re squeezed back into a 9-mile-wide state, within borders that ultra-dove Abba Eban dubbed “the Auschwitz lines.”
This is Obama’s monstrously magnified version of Hobson’s comparatively innocuous choice. Thomas Hobson (1544-1631) was a notorious English liveryman who pretended to offer his customers the pick of his horses but in fact gave them no option. Obama seemingly offers Israel a free choice but in fact aims to leave it with no viable alternative. In so many words he tells us that it’s his way or the highway.
Yet is no price too high to pay for the hazy hypothetical that Obama would free us from Iranian danger? Are we indeed as impotent as some spin-meisters would have us believe? If we can help ourselves even a little, is the further compromising of our self-preservation prospects sane?
The buzz about Obama’s alleged variation on Hobson’s choice might be altogether unfounded. In that case all we’d supposedly gain from going to the gallows is the hope that we can at the last moment avoid execution but in the meanwhile diminish our excruciating delegitimization abroad.
Our delegitimization, though, is inextricably bound with Obama’s perception that there’s no conflict with Islam and that peace on earth and goodwill to all men would be at hand... if Israel weren’t in the way.
With that in mind, can anyone seriously count on Obama to fight Israel’s fight? He hasn’t exactly been eager to fight America’s own fight. Hence the panicky evacuation of US embassies. Hence the preposterous resort to the YouTube pretext and the workplace violence charade.
Debunking the Bull, Sarah Honig’s book, was published this year by Gefen.