Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Devil Didn't Make Them Do It

Barack Obama tried today to square the circle of living up to his campaign promises of Leftoid appeasement versus actually having the responsibility to protect the country against terrorism. It's telling that Obama seems genuinely surprised when actual Americans aren't so crazy about the idea of 240 fanatics being brought to the US, to say nothing of giving them the benefit of a court system they hold in contempt, and an endless parade of ACLU lawyers to plead their cases--all on the taxpayer's dime.

There is a great deal to criticize in Obama's typically pretentious and windy speech today, but one line in particular caught my eye. Among all the moral preening and conspicuous self-righteousness embodied by Obama and his Big Media fan club comes, this much-repeated (but never quantified) trope has assumed the stature of Holy Writ:

[I]nstead of serving as a tool to counter-terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.

Let's think about that for a second. The President of the United States is charging that a prison deemed by his own Attorney General to be a professional and humane facility "creates terrorists"... among people who riot and kill over teddy bears and cartoons.

I hate to break this to you, Barry, but as far as those guys are concerned, it doesn't matter what you do with the two hundred-odd murderers and thugs who are safely under guard in Cuba. The nutbags among your pop's latter-day co-religionists are going to hate you, and me, and everyone we know just as much as they do today if you personally unlock the gates and hand each and every inmate a gold-plated apology, a free ticket back to where they came from, and the reins to their very own pony.

Obama is indulging in the old "the devil made them do it" argument, which serves to infantilize murderers while providing a balm to the self-esteem of Western Lefties: Lenin was only a tyrant because the US supported the other side in the Russian Civil War. Stalin wouldn't have been a butcher to his own people if he weren't "threatened" by the West. Pol Pot only massacred a million innocents because Nixon bombed Cambodia. And on and on and on. There aren't any actual bad guys out there in the world--just victims of American foreign policy who lash out in frustrated rage.

As Ronald Reagan once observed of a similarly-specious bit of Soviet propaganda, "There is a non-Soviet word for that kind of talk. It's an extremely useful, time-tested original American word, one with deep roots in our rich agricultural and farming tradition."

Unless Obama is considerably dumber than I think he is, he's well aware that the existance of the prison at Guantanamo is far more of a concern to people who care about what the Guardian or Le Monde write about them than it is to any would-be jihadi. What's unfortunate is that the opinions of the nutty Left and the European media appear to mean a lot more to Obama than the oath he swore back in January.

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