How Obama cooks the ter­ror­ism num­bers

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN

Barack Oba­mas has given an elo­quent tes­ti­mony to a Chris­tian faith, but his sym­pa­thies are al­ways with Is­lam. He in­sisted from Asia that “99.9 per­cent of Mus­lims world­wide re­ject ter­ror­ism,” and that’s good news, if true. But it clearly is not.

It is true that in the wake of the at­tacks on Paris an un­usual num­ber of Mus­lims have de­cried the ter­ror­ism that threat­ens us all. Even CAIR, the Mus­lim ad­vo­cacy out­fit that de­cries as a hate crime ev­ery hard look a Mus­lim gets any­where, con­demns the as­sault on Paris.

It’s right to put rad­i­cal Is­lamic terror in per­spec­tive. Mus­lims have fought in ev­ery Amer­i­can war, and 3,500 Mus­lims serve in the na­tion’s mil­i­tary ser­vices to­day. Mus­lim sol­diers are buried with medals and hon­ors at Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery.

But a pres­i­dent who says 99.9 per­cent of Mus­lims re­ject ter­ror­ism has clearly been lis­ten­ing too long to the evening call to Mus­lim prayer, which he fa­mously called “the pret­ti­est sound on earth.” (It’s bet­ter than rap, but not as pretty as Dvo­rak’s “New World Symphony,” repris­ing the folk mu­sic of Amer­ica.)

Pew Re­search, which is no right-wing echo cham­ber and polls ex­ten­sively on what Mus­lims be­lieve about cur­rent events, found that only 57 per­cent of Mus­lims in nine pre­dom­i­nantly Is­lamic coun­tries hold an un­fa­vor­able opin­ion of al-Qaeda. Math­meti­cians, even math ma­jors, gen­er­ally re­gard 57 as less than 99.9.

One in 4 Mus­lims have a fa­vor­able opin­ion of Hezbol­lah, from whom ISIS learned cer­tain tor­ture tech­niques used on Amer­i­can cap­tives, such as Wil­liam Buck­ley, the CIA sta­tion chief in Beirut whom the CIA con­cluded was re­duced to “close to a gib­ber­ing wretch.” Once months of tor­ture fi­nally killed him, his body was dumped on the side of a dirt road.

Pew finds that a third, or 33 per­cent of Mus­lims sup­port Hamas, whose sol­diers once went into a ho­tel in the Is­raeli city of Ne­tanya and burst into a room where a group of el­derly Jews, in­clud­ing sev­eral Holo­caust sur­vivors and some in wheel­chairs, were hav­ing a Passover sup­per. One of the Hamas he­roes det­o­nated his sui­cide vest, killing 30 and wound­ing 140 oth­ers. The Pales­tinian Author­ity later named a soc­cer tour­na­ment to honor the sui­cide bomber. The math ma­jor could tell Mr. Obama that a third, or 33, is less than 99.9.

The pres­i­dent en­ter­tains Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande of France at the White House on Tues­day to talk about how to strengthen the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion to fight ISIS, and he prob­a­bly should not try out his 99.9 num­ber on the French pres­i­dent. What Mr. Obama does (or doesn’t do) speaks so loud it’s hard to hear what he says.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple are right to be con­cerned,” he said on Sun­day in Malaysia. But there’s a dif­fer­ence, he said, be­tween vig­i­lance and sur­ren­der­ing to fears “that lead us aban­don our val­ues, to aban­don how we live.” True enough, but nei­ther should Mr. Obama’s naïve sen­ti­ment per­suade any­one to aban­don com­mon sense or his life in a fool­ish sur­ren­der to mawk­ish clichés.

Mr. Obama’s pleas not to let the ter­ror­ists win — ob­vi­ously meant to nee­dle those who want to im­prove the vet­ting of mi­grants from Syria — in­evitably re­call sim­i­lar pres­i­den­tial ap­peals in the wake of the 9/11 de­struc­tion of the World Trade Cen­ter.

“Our na­tion was hor­ri­fied, but it’s not go­ing to be ter­ror­ized,” Ge­orge W. Bush de­clared five days af­ter those at­tacks. “We’re a na­tion that can’t be cowed by evil-do­ers.” Mr. Obama reprised the words of the man he blames for his own man­i­fold mis­takes, ob­serv­ing that the United States had taken hard licks be­fore and sur­vived, and now Times Square in Man­hat­tan is aswarm with peo­ple again, “rightly so.”

“I was very proud of the fact that the fun­da­men­tal na­ture of Amer­ica and how we treated each other did not change,” he said. So far, so good. But he couldn’t re­sist a poorly dis­guised cheap shot at his pre­de­ces­sor. “We’ve made some bad de­ci­sions sub­se­quent to that at­tack in part based on fear, and that’s why we have to be cau­tious.”

That sym­pa­thiz­ers and supporters of ter­ror­ism as a le­git­i­mate weapon of war make up a mi­nor­ity of Mus­lims is no doubt cor­rect. The ma­jor­ity want what the ma­jor­ity of Chris­tians, Jews and those of no faith want, a good life for them­selves and their chil­dren. But the mi­nor­ity is large and con­se­quen­tial, com­pris­ing a num­ber far larger than Barack Obama’s one tenth of one per­cent. The pres­i­dent serves no good pur­pose dis­tort­ing the facts.

If Mus­lims shunned the ter­ror­ists by the per­cent­ages that Chris­tians shun the Ku Klux Klan, ob­serves Josh Gel­ern­ter in the Na­tional Re­view, “the pres­i­dent would have a point.” But they don’t, and he doesn’t. Wes­ley Pruden is ed­i­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Ge­orge W. Bush

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