Friday August 29, 2014
Israel Hayom
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Richard Baehr

Switching sides

Earlier this week, The New Yorker published a 17,000 word article by its editor, David Remnick, summarizing his time spent recently in travels with President Barack Obama. That Remnick should get such access to the president is not a surprise, since under his leadership, The New Yorker has shifted in a significant way from a magazine that was once known and widely respected for its fiction, essays and cartoons, to a magazine indistinguishable from many others for its role advancing the favored causes of the Left in the nation's political wars -- whether it be hysteria about climate change, bashing Israel and its American supporters, or mocking Tea Party supporters and their preferred candidates, as well as Republicans of any denomination. Previous editor Tina Brown had turned The New Yorker into a Vanity Fair twin with fewer pictures and longer articles. Remnick has made The New Yorker a close relation of The Nation with more fashion ads and better paper stock, and the one constant -- longer articles.

Remnick had already given his loving embrace to Obama in a lengthy biography "The Bridge" that was little read, and now found mainly on remainder shelves or on for a penny for the hardcover edition. Remnick discovered some evidence of creative writing (fiction) in Obama's memoir, but worked hard to preserve the reputation of the president, ignoring all evidence that Obama was not even the author of the much lauded "Dreams From My Father". America's great black hope had to be protected, whatever Remnick discovered (or chose to ignore) in his research for the book.

One part of Remnick's latest article has gotten a fair amount of attention. After the killing of Osama bin Laden, the administration hoped to coast to a 2012 re-election victory with the theme of "Bin Laden is dead (and so is al-Qaida), but General Motors is still alive." The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, provided an inconvenient truth, as if there were not other evidence around, that al-Qaida will still alive and kicking. It is in light of the campaign's messaging, that the administration's desperate effort to mislead about who was responsible for what happened in Benghazi and why they did what they did, became so important. The New York Times, 16 months after the date of the attack and the killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, was still busy doing legwork to buttress the White House's original fabrication that the attack resulted from a spontaneous demonstration aroused by a Muslim-mocking video produced by a Coptic Christian in the United States, that of course, no one in Libya had seen. In any case, the Times author, David Kirkpatrick, maintained that no evidence existed that al-Qaida had its hands in the attack. The Times of course, had multiple objectives with the Kirkpatrick whitewash -- make sure Obama came out looking truthful (a big problem after the Obamacare lies), and make Benghazi go away for Hillary Clinton to better enable her to glide to victory in 2016.

With chaos seeming to envelop one country after another since the start of the so-called Arab Spring, and the clear involvement of al-Qaida and Sunni terror groups in violence occurring in many countries at the moment, the president has been at pains to justify his sweeping confidence that al-Qaida was a solved problem. Remnick describes the president's latest "all clear" on al-Qaida this way:

"In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that al-Qaida had been 'decimated.' I pointed out that the flag of al-Qaida is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; al-Qaida has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

"'The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant,' Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. 'I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.'"

Yesterday came news that Israelis had prevented an al-Qaida attack on the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv. The jayvee squad involved was arrested (Laker benchwarmers?).

Wednesday's Wall Street Journal in its front page news box had five of the top seven stories relating to Sunni and al-Qaida linked terror attacks:

1. Murder of 3 vaccination workers in Pakistan

2. Shiite pilgrims killed in a bus bombing in Pakistan

3. Al-Qaida linked militants imposing religious rules on Fallujah and strong arming local leaders

4. Two Islamists claiming responsibility for terror attacks in Russia, and promising more

5. A Beirut car bomb killing 20 with an Islamic group claiming it was in retaliation for Iran and Hezbollah's role in the Syrian Civil War

One might think that the president's characterization of the current terror threat from Islamic radicals (of the Sunni persuasion) missed the mark. Does a terror attack on a U.S. embassy count as a major operation? It didn't for Obama and his national security team in Benghazi, so why should a Tel Aviv attack be viewed differently? Would a major attack at the Sochi winter games show evidence that the jayvee team had sent a few of its top stars on to the next level?

The president is very confident with sports metaphors, but even Remnick seems uncomfortable with this one. In any case, Kobe and the Lakers are well past their best days, and the shelf life of the "al-Qaida is decimated and on the run" meme seems also to have expired.

The Remnick articles speak of Obama feeling the need to address the stale thinking that is so common in America on foreign policy, and work through the new realities that are out there. But the al-Qaida threat seems more like an old reality that is hanging in there, with new delusions about their demise being the real problem with the White House team's thinking.

One other prominent new reality for the administration seems to be that Iran is on the verge of becoming a partner of the United States, given how many common goals the two countries share. Again, The New York Times is first with the breakout of the new "special relationship." The new partners have their work cut out for them, since Obama has to deal with interference from Israel which the president and his team, none too subtly suggest is poisoning the waters in Congress (which Obama friend Tom Friedman has argued is controlled by Jews and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Rather than threatening new sanctions against Iran for failure to perform under the terms of its current agreement with the P5+1, as a strong bipartisan majority in each branch of Congress prefers, the president is letting slip out that his current plan is to gut the sanctions that are already in place, and that likely forced Iran to begin serious negotiations for the first time.

The White House seems to be creating the foreign policy version of "Fifty Ways to Please Your Lover." Abandoning existing allies? Check. Always reading the best into Iranian intentions? Check. Providing fodder for anti-Semites in the U.S., Iran and the region who think Israel controls the U.S. government? Check. Ignoring every public Iranian declaration that puts the lie to their having changed course with their nuclear program? Check. Love can be blind, but in this case, something else may be in play -- the administration has switched sides, so it has become part of the Iranian propaganda machine. Maybe the president actually sat through those Reverend Jeremiah Wright sermons.

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