President Obama's speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize showed great growth in his development as a leader. He courageously set forth the principles of just war before those who had assembled to give him a peace prize. The president boldly acknowledged America's very real enemy, Al Qaeda, in a move rarely heard from him prior in public addresses. His remarks also rectified his failure to mention any leaders besides himself in his remarks for the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In doing so, President Obama exhibited humility and grace as he noted the achievements of leaders like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Pope John Paul II, and Lech Walesa in his Nobel address.
President Obama failed in just one key area in his otherwise impressive address. Once again, he proved himself ignorant of history and embarrassingly sycophantic when it comes to the history and nature of Islam.
In the very same week in which five American Muslim men were apprehended in Pakistan for intent to wage jihad, President Obama offered these words that so often sprinkle his messages: “Most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; the cruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded.”
President Obama loves to reference the Crusades as his one Christian parallel for the modern-day Islam of massive religiously-inspired violence. He could not be more wrong. Were Obama to read distinguished Cambridge historian Jonathan Riley-Smith's The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam, he would find an excellent account of what happens when Islam expands it reach and what is required to thwart it.