The Corner

Lots of Recent Man-Caused Disasters

Even the administration is now considering some sort of overseas contingency operation to cope with an outbreak of workplace violence worldwide. 

Each morning it seems we read that Islamic killers of Boko Haram have kidnapped or slaughtered more children. Israel alleges Hamas affiliates are behind the kidnapping of Israeli teens, one of them an American citizen. No need to mention Iraq: We are flirting with the idea that the Iranians — who once introduced sophisticated shaped-charge IEDs to better kill and maim Americans trying to win the surge — are our new allies to stop the ISIS Islamist monsters from destroying our former Iraq allies whose religious hatreds ruined the stability following the surge. Westerners say that the more secular Assad government is the more monstrous, but then deplore the fact that al-Qaeda has taken the upper hand among the insurgents in Syria, most of them now radical Islamists. 

As a break, there is the story from Sudan of the Christian mom facing a death sentence for her supposed conversion from Islam, or the Afghan voters showing what is left of their hands after the Taliban cut off their ink-stained digits, or the latest Libyan tribal and religious violence. All this is a bit more dramatic that the usual run of things about Turkey’s new Islamic intolerance or the occasional horror story from Saudi Arabia or the mess in Egypt.

Apparently, none of these Islamic terrorists heard that the Obama administration very much wished to shut down Guantanamo or had blamed a video maker for the violence in Libya, or extolled Islam in the Cairo speech, or had taken every soldier out of Iraq as a token of our good will, or will be gone from Afghanistan by 2016, or had devoted NASA inter alia to Islamic outreach, or banned the words “Islamic” and “radical Islam” in association with terrorism, a word itself that is likewise excised.

It wasn’t supposed to be so: John Brennan gave us riffs on the proper meaning of jihad. Barack Obama in his first interview (with al Arabiya) emphasized his familiarity with Islam (“Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.”) James Clapper assured us the Muslim Brotherhood was largely secular; John Kerry saw Israeli intransigence as a catalyst for Islamic unrest throughout the Middle East. This administration came into the Middle East to bear witness of past American zealotry, and the Middle East did not accept it.

It is difficult to identify a common pathology in these examples when the requisite vocabulary has been declared politically unacceptable. When a foreign policy is based on reducing a clear and present danger to a construct of a prior administration’s overzealousness, and when such a premise is hourly refuted by facts, what comes next?  

Who knows? Iran as an ally and, thus, de facto the entire Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas Axis? Can Iran plant its lethal IEDs in Anbar Province? Putin again to the rescue? Final cancellation of Keystone and more federal lands off limits to encourage wind and solar and “millions of green jobs”? A breakthrough initiative on climate change to solve these tensions? Another Cairo speech? More “Bush did it” refrains? Another special envoy or regional czar?


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Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.