He just can't seem to grasp that the real world involves more than street organizing, speechmaking, symbolic gestures and his grand appearance on the world stage as a veritable messiah. His miscalculations are disturbingly naive.
Remember his interview on Al-Arabiya, in January 2009, when he assured the Muslim world that things would be much different under his regime? He said that if we would "listen (and) set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years ... there's a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs." Is it me, or did he sound as if he was patronizing all Muslims as potential terrorists there?
By "preconceptions" Obama seemed to be suggesting that the Bush administration had been promoting the idea that all of Islam was our enemy and the religion had contributed nothing constructive to the world.
Indeed, Obama agreed when his interviewer said, "President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad." Obama responded: "We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name. ... The language we use has to be a language of respect. ... My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."
But maybe it was a preconception-ridden Obama who hadn't been listening to Bush's statements on Islam and the war. Perhaps Obama ought to treat Mr. Bush's words with more respect, such as in not flagrantly misquoting him.
Time and time again, President Bush hailed Islam as a peaceful religion and made clear that the United States was not at war with Islam, only with the extremists who distort the religion. He also said, "America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam, which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity and morality."
Shouldn't Obama have gotten a clue that sweet-talking the Muslim world -- or promising to close Gitmo (which President Bush also did, regrettably) -- doesn't deter terrorists.
In fact, the verdict on Obama's messianic approach is already in. Despite his overtures, his own CIA director, Leon Panetta, just testified that al-Qaida is growing and gearing for an attack in the United States in the next three to six months.
No worries. If it happens, he can blame Bush for that, too.
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