On Feb. 5, President Barack Obama blew an opportunity to unite people who trust in whatever higher power as they conceive to oppose barbarism and inhumanity.
Instead, he offered a sophomoric lecture on the crusades and American slavery. His point being crusader deprivations committed nearly a millennia ago, our national experience with slavery, and the battle for civil rights, should temper our criticism of barbaric acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The president’s remarks as well as the 2015 National Security Strategy, previewed by National Security Advisor Dr. Susan Rice at Brookings the next day, reflect perspectives held by leftist academics.
Barack Obama entered American higher education in the 1980s with professorial ideologically skewed blather ascending. Since the late 1960s, professors, academically weaned during the anti-war movement, often equated South Vietnam’s Viet Cong insurgents with American patriots during the war of independence and drew parallels between North Vietnamese leaders Ho Chi Minh and Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
The Crusades constituted a turning point in European and world history. Monarchs emerging from the Dark Ages established bureaucracies to raise taxes.
Once in place, those bureaucracies continued to fund standing armies that secured roads for trade spurred by Western contacts with Middle Eastern and Oriental cultures during the Crusades. The Crusades also rediscovered the Greek classics preserved in Islamic libraries in Damascus, Baghdad, and Timbuktu contributing to the Southern European Renaissance and later influencing the scientific revolution in northern Europe and the Protestant Reformation.
Certainly, the semi-barbarous European armies that blundered their way through four Crusades, crucifying Jews along the way and sacking Orthodox Christian Constantinople in 1224, ultimately failed to stop the spread of Islam. The Muslim jihad continued across North Africa and into Spain.
It took the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to end Islamic domination of the eastern Mediterranean. The Muslim surge into Europe continued into the 16th century reaching modern Hungary.
In her talk at Brookings, Susan Rice downplayed threats posed by ISIS and al-Qaida as “nonexistential.”
Since the Revolutionary War, Americans only faced three existential threats.
First, losing the war for independence would have aborted the American republic. Second, while the Confederacy didn’t intend to conquer the Union, had secession succeeded, history might have been less sanguine.
While global conflicts from 1914 to 1945 never posed an existential threat to the United States the Cold War. While 100,000 Americans died in inconclusive Cold War conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the collapse of the Soviet Union ended, at least for a time, that existential threat. Nevertheless, Russia’s nuclear arsenal and China’s hegemonic ambitions pose potential existential threats.
Additionally, Rice attempted to minimize the Islamic terrorist threat by not properly naming it a religious threat and then claiming that decimating its leadership fostered a “diffusion of the threat — to al-Qaida affiliates, ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant), local militias and home-grown violent extremists.” There’s a lot in those 13 words.
Killing Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders did not cause diffusion. The threat metastasized into franchised groups. For instance, while the 2015 National Security Policy touts progress by containing Ebola in Africa, Boko Haram, the African al-Qaida affiliate, killed more victims in Nigeria than Ebola claimed in all of Africa over the past three decades.
Using ISIL rather than ISIS maintains the fiction that American forces were withdrawn after securing Iraq. With 40,000 fighters, a global recruitment program, millions in financial assets, ISIS adds an estimated 1,000 recruits a week and constitutes far more than “home-grown violent extremists.”
ISIS shares al-Qaida’s goal of establishing a global Islamic affiliate and depends on Western war weariness to accomplish that end.
Be not afraid. In her Brookings address Rice noted, “American leadership is addressing the very real threat of climate change.” Although Rice claims “the science is clear,” the fact is the earth’s climate constantly changes and will continue to do so.
Man’s inhumanity to man is as natural as warfare and peaked neither in the Crusades nor with American slavery. While the Crusades ended in the 12th century, Islamic jihad and Arab slavery continued to the present.
Furthermore, during the 20th century bolshevism, fascism, and communism claimed many millions of lives — perhaps 100 million — from the Russian Revolution to the Stalinist gulags and Nazi concentration and work camp systems . . . the latter claiming 12,000,000 lives compared to 3,000,000 killed by aerial bombardment by all sides from 1939 through 1945.
The butcher’s bill attributed to bolshevism, fascism, and communism are attributable to Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Joseph Stalin and Mao Mao Tse-tung not Jesus Christ.
What’s needed is an administration with a history unsullied by propaganda because any nation that substitutes ideologically-skewed propaganda for history, as did the Soviet Union, has no history and, like the USSR, it also has no future.
Dr. Earl H. Tilford served as a nuclear targeting officer at Headquarters Strategic Air Command, and on the faculties of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Air Command and Staff College, and the Air War College. From 1993 to July 2001, he served as director of research for the Army's Strategic Studies Institute. He is the author of three books on Vietnam, including "Crosswinds: The Air Force's Setup in Vietnam." He currently teaches courses on strategy for the Honors College at the University of Alabama. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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