In all the brouhaha over the New Yorker's satirical cover cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama, a truly "tasteless and offensive" passage in the magazine's feature article got lost. The magazine piece quotes Obama's recommendations for how to stop jihad, which he had previously published in a local Chicago newspaper eight days after 9/11. It's a self-parody of blind, deaf and dumb Kumbaya liberalism:
"We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair."
Is this man for real? Osama bin Laden's murderous legions are plenty able to "imagine" the "suffering of others." Go watch an al-Qaida beheading snuff video. Just Google it or surf YouTube. Imagining the suffering of infidels is covered amply in basic Jihadi Training 101.
You'll note, too, that Obama's fresh instinct in the week after the 9/11 attack was to diagnose it as a "tragedy" stemming from lack of "empathy" and "understanding" -- instead of as the deliberate, carefully planned evil act of the long-waged Islamic war on the West that it was.
As for Obama's continued delusion about the "climate of poverty and ignorance" that supposedly breeds Muslim terrorists, can American politicians ever rid themselves of this unreality-based trope? This belief is part and parcel of the same idiocy that led the State Department to embrace "spa days" for Muslims to "build bridges" with the Arab world and President Bush to open up our aviation schools to more Saudi students to "improve understanding."
John McCain also alluded to education-as-cure for Islamic terrorism at the L.A. World Affairs Council in March, when he declared, "In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs." Just what we need: more student visas for the jihadi-infested nation that sent us the bulk of the 9/11 hijackers.