Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama's Holocaust Speech

I somehow missed the Obama speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this month. But Michael Ledeen didn't and he wrote about it here. The speech, as Mr. Ledeen says, isn't all bad, but there is a passage which illustrates a bigger global philosphy that we should note.

I've studied a lot about the Holocaust and I'd have to agree with Ledeen when he says that Obama's view of the genocide is a great deal different than pretty much everyone else's. In NRO's The Corner this afternoon, Ledeen highlights a passage of the speech and expounds:


"We find cause for hope as well in Protestant and Catholic children attending school together in Northern Ireland; in Hutus and Tutsis living side-by-side, forgiving neighbors who have done the unforgivable; in a movement to save Darfur that has thousands of high school and college chapters in 25 countries and brought 70,000 people to the Washington Mall, people of every age and faith and background and race united in common cause with suffering brothers and sisters halfway around the world. Those numbers can be our future, our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance and ultimately to reconciliation. That is what we mean when we say 'never again.'


"It may be what he means by "never again," but most everybody else means "we're going to act to throttle the next would-be Hitler." Not "resistance and ultimately . . . reconciliation." Action, quite possibly military action. But Obama doesn't talk about military action anywhere in his speech. There is no mention of the Second World War, nor, for that matter, the belated military action that terminated the slaughter in Rwanda, or the decades-long police action in Northern Ireland, and of course no criticism of the total lack of action by the "international community" in Darfur.

"And yet he has the nerve to suggest that we should learn from 'our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey . . . ' Isn't it the other way round? For if "our fellow citizens" in Europe had had the same willingness to fight evil that we have so often displayed, there wouldn't have been a Holocaust to remember. But such unpleasant facts would have led him to praise American exceptionalism, and, as we know, he's not comfortable with such themes."

Certainly this was not the occasion for a militant speech. But one thing that stands out here is how his perspective fits right in with his apology tour, which Ledeen aptly points out. It is also consistent with his policy to never praise America. Americans helped liberate the camps - doesn't that count for something? Not in Obama's world; at least, he gives no indication that was the case.

He does speak of "the hope of a chosen people who have overcome oppression since the days of Exodus, of the nation of Israel rising from the destruction of the Holocaust, of the strong and enduring bonds between our nations," but some in Israel are questioning those strong bonds right now and doubting that Obama feels them.

I'm willing to be that had he been president during the Holocaust he'd have been willing to meet with Hitler "without preconditions" and search for that reconciliation he mentions.

While dipolomacy and conversation has its place, not all problems can be solved that way despite what Mr. Obama seems to think. There are times when military action is necessary. Obama does not seem to think so. Ronald Reagan left no doubt for our enemies that he would respond with force when necessary. He drew the line in the sand. No nonsense.

Our enemies need to know that we are willing to take action if necessary. The only message Obama seems to be putting out is "Let's talk!" Clearly Iran isn't afraid of us, nor is North Korea or Cuba or Venezuela or Hamas, or any of the other global terrorists who have challenged him.

Gird your loins kids; it's going to be a long four years.

Update: Via Memeorandum, here is a great post on the same topic.

Obama Refuses to Meet with Netanyahu
Louis Van Thyn


G.R. said...

I just heard this morning that North Korea has it panties in a wad and wants the U.S. to apologize to them, or they're going to shoot off another missle.

I guess Kim Jong Ill is offended that Obama hasn't gone to North Korea on his World Apology Tour.

When I heard that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

That is why you never give credence to crackpot despots.

P.S. To the certain anonymous, I hope your gastric disorder concerning military veterans voicing their opinions has cleared up. After all, it's one of those rights I have by being an American and served to protect.

yukio ngaby said...

People seem to have a skewed view of what diplomacy is, somehow equating it with appeasement and compromise. This is not necessarily true. Remember the US/USSR relations were at some of their lower points during Carter (yes there were even lower points) and some of their highest during Reagan.

Talking tough and being honest (as in letting your convictions be known) can go a long way in diplomacy.

Obama seems to have a martyr complex --not offering himself up as a martyr mind you-- in that he celebrates other people taking the fall so that we have the opportunity to exercise "moral" inaction... and then self-indulgently lauds the victims as heroes. He celebrates WWII era Jews for instance, though Obama shows nearly open contempt for modern Israel that refuses to lie back and allow themselves to be annihilated.

It's very easy to safely laud a martyr and it'll often win you political sympathy points ("look how empathetic he is!"). It's far more difficult to save them before they're martyrs-- and then, often enough, you're presented as a war monger and oppressor.

G.R. said...

I don't know if Obama has the martyr complex, the messiah complex, or just in over his head and plain naive and ignorant.

Standing for principle without wavering was why I admired Reagan. You knew where he stood, and so did the rest of the world. Remember he walked out on Gorbechev at Reykjavik during a summit, which forced Gorbechev to blink.

But then again the enemy we face now is way different than the old Soviet Union, although the Soviets in Russia are starting to raise their heads again. The people in Russia and the eastern bloc countries value life, including their own. This enemy couldn't care less.

With all of that aside, the scariest part is that those who are advising Obama are probably just as clueless, including the
"Smartest Woman in the World", Hilary Clinton, who said that thought of the Taliban and Al Quida getting their hands on Pakistani nukes is unthinkable. Unthinkable? WTF!

I don't know about Hilary, but I think about it, and it scare the ever living day lights out of me.