In an op-ed Obama wrote for the Los Angeles Times about the terrorist threat, he ended by remarking
Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds. With this week's summit, we'll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.
It is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity. On his way to blasting Obama for "a very, very damaging statement," Rudy Giuliani should have read the last paragraph of the piece before maintaining "I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter."
Unlike the President, who cited our free societies and diverse communities, the failed New York mayor apparently could find no examples of American exceptionalism, though he did exhibit the conservative trait of excessive testosterone. Steve M. notes
Our pols and reporters aren't much on picking up guns these days, but boy, do they love words. Words are obviously the journalists' stock in trade, but words are pretty much all we ever get from right-wing politicians -- they don't do anything. (OK, OK -- at the state level they bust unions and shift the tax burden away from the rich.) So they've persuaded themselves that words are the secret weapon. They shout "Radical Islam!" and tell themselves: THIS CATCHPHRASE KILLS ISLAMOFASCISTS. They think trash-talk equals valor. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Rudy Giuliani and Dinesh D'Souza. They're still the self-deluding 101st Fighting Keyboarders -- but now they have the mainstream media on their side.
Many of Obama's critics do have an obsession with proving their masculine bonafides, shouting about Islamism but always stopping just short of recommending American ground troops, re-instituting the draft, or practically any solution. (See video below in which Bill O'Reilly stops just short of recommending American soldiers- or anything definitive; and below it, Chris Hayes' response.) Surveying the very secretive No Drama Obama Administration, John Ellis Bush
claimed "With grandiosity, they announce resets and disengage. Hashtag campaigns replace actual diplomacy and engagement. Personal diplomacy and maturity is replaced by leaks and personal disparagement."
Only a Bush would have the gall to condemn simultaneously a Democrat for "weakness" and for abandoning diplomacy. It was followed by nothing constructive, which is becoming a John Ellis Bush specialty.
The GOP's fascination with toughness is manifested in (intentional) carelessness, demonstrated by Giuliani slamming the President's alleged reluctance to tout America's exceptionalism," while himself avoiding himself avoided specifics. Similarly, Town Hall's Katie Pavlich is exorcised Obama stated
Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies.
What, exactly, does Obama mean when he says "legitimate grievances"? The grievances Al Qaeda and ISIS hold are against infidels and Muslims who don't go far enough to wage jihad on the West. These "grievances" aren't economic, despite what the State Department would like us to believe.
In a post preceding the other quoted above, Steve M. observed this right-wing complaint and explained
Obviously, the president is referring to the legitimate grievances of citizens in many countries who are not members of ISIS or other terrorist groups. Some of them, he believes, might turn to extremist organizations out of anger at the state of their own countries.
Right-wingers know that, of course. They know the president is not legitimizing terrorist organizations. They're just exploiting the ignorance of their target audience, because fostering hatred for their political enemies is -- now and always -- their #1 priority. They care about that far more than they do about fighting terrorism or keeping America safe.
If you talk to many extreme conservatives, you probably have noted that while hatred of Barack Obama is priority #1, speaking in broad generalities is #2. Usually, they do not do nuance, and neither do their political and media stars, as when Bill O'Reilly Tuesday declared "The Holy War is here and unfortunately, it seems the president will be the last one to acknowledge it."
President Obama at times has gone overboard in suggesting both that global violence is unrelated to religion and that Christians have been as culpable as have Muslims. The global threat posed by radical Islamism exceeds that posed by radical Christianity. Still, proclaiming a holy war is irresponsible, as are the constant invocations of American "exceptionalism." They threaten to take us down a very dark road.