Washington, D.C. – According to the mighty Wurlitzer in the White House press office, this week's penitent presidential venture to the Middle has been "historic" and a "new beginning" for our relationship with Islam. Unfortunately for President Obama — and his campaign promise to make a major speech in a Muslim capital — Usama bin Laden didn't play along. That's the trouble with homicidal megalomaniacs: They very often don't abide by the rules of "acceptable behavior."
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As the "Grand Apology Tour" swept into Saudi Arabia, the Al Qaeda terror chieftain released yet another audio-taped diatribe, condemning "U.S. aggression" in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though Obama's carefully scripted "grand gesture" before a thoroughly screened audience in Cairo was simultaneously translated into a half-dozen tongues and broadcast around the world, it wasn't enough to push the bin Laden commentary off Islamic Web sites. That's because bin Laden "gets it" and Obama doesn't.
Usama bin Laden doesn't make any apologies for who he is or the violence he advocates. He is a vicious religious extremist and is proud of the sanguinary carnage he has wrought against thousands of innocent Muslims, infidels in general, and Americans and Jews in particular. He knows his audience is but a tiny fraction of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims and is well aware that if only one tenth of one percent become "jihadis" he will have succeeded. Bin Laden doesn't want to be liked; he wants to be feared.
President Obama on the other hand, is desperate for affirmation, thus his repeated references to his "Muslim father" and "the Holy Koran" in an effort to "bond" with his Islamic audience. To demonstrate empathy with "our Arab allies" and show improvement from his predecessors, he did not visit Israel and pointedly condemned Israeli settlements which, he said, "undermine efforts to achieve peace." To further establish how "different" he is, Obama has become very deft at distorting the truth to serve his own ends.
He has been practicing the lines he used on this "Muslim Outreach Expedition" for months. In April, while in Turkey, Obama baldly stated that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation." He stressed, however, that the U.S. will "convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans."
"Shaped" and "enriched" are not words that spring instantly to mind when visiting Ground Zero in New York City or the West Wall of the Pentagon.
As the White House embarked on this "new chapter of engagement between the U.S. and the Muslim world," they changed the presidential job description and stretched the facts. "I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States," Obama told his Cairo audience, "to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." He also told an interviewer, "If you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Sorry, Mr. President, but that's not even a stretch, it's just a bald-faced fabrication designed to ingratiate yourself with your "audience."
The 1,209 mosques in the United States claim slightly more than 2 million members. There are 48 Muslim-majority nations on Earth. Even tiny Oman (population: 2.7 million) has more Muslims than the USA, as do more than two-dozen other Muslim-minority countries. We do have more than Iceland (Muslim population: less than 500).
Note to White House staff: These are called facts. The president needs to stick to them. Usama bin Laden and the Ayatollahs in Tehran (Muslim population: 63 million) know better and they see his grasping for approval as what it is: weakness.
Obama's plaintive promise of "mutual respect" and his utopian hope that a "peace agreement" between Israel and the Palestinians will keep the Iranians from using nuclear weapons or Islamists from wanting to kill Americans is beyond naïve — it is dangerous.
Some of the Sunni Muslims Obama met with and spoke to in Riyadh and Cairo undoubtedly want to believe that this "enlightened" American president will protect them from extermination by a Shia Muslim-Persian bomb. Others may even hope that he can help prevent their heads from being removed by bin Laden's minions. More likely, the pragmatic among them will get quietly to work assembling their own nuclear arsenals.
Endless apologies to everyone for everything the United States has done "wrong" or "failed to do" denies the reality of our past and present enemies and denigrates the American people. Just prior to the president's departure for meetings with Saudi King Abdullah and the "group hug" with Muslim leaders in Cairo, an abortion doctor was murdered and two U.S. soldiers were gunned down in front of an Arkansas recruiting office by a Muslim "convert."
Before getting on Air Force One, Obama took time out to tell a French television reporter, "I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam," and ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to start protecting abortion clinics. Too bad he didn't do the same for military recruiting stations.
Lt Col Oliver L. North (ret.) serves as host of the Fox News Channel documentary series "War Stories with Oliver North." From 1983 to 1986, he served as the U.S. government's counterterrorism coordinator on the National Security Council staff. North is the founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization providing college scholarships to the children of military personnel killed in the line of duty and author of the new nationwide bestseller, "Counterfeit Lies," a novel about how Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Click here for more information on Oliver North.