Like a lot of guys who've been told they're brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn't always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the "Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act." Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That's how I'd put it. This is what the president of the United States said:FILE PHOTO: Wall Street Journalreporter Daniel Pearl is shown with a gun held to his head in this file photo obtained on Jan. 26, 2002. AP Photo, HO, File
"Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world's imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is."
Now Obama's off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he's talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased's family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it's the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true. Indeed, for Obama, it's the work of seconds, because he has a taxpayer-funded staff sitting around all day with nothing to do but provide him with that sentence.
Instead, he delivered the one above, which in its clumsiness and insipidness is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: "The loss of Daniel Pearl." He wasn't "lost." He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his "loss" merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none.
Even if Americans don't get the message, the rest of the world does. This week's pictures of the leaders of Brazil and Turkey clasping hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are also monuments to American passivity.
It is further insisted that once a Palestinian state has been created there will be peace.
The murder of Danny Pearl tells a much different story. For these radicals, the issue is not merely a Palestinian state. They do not believe Israel should exist. For them, there is no room in this world for the Jews. By killing Danny Pearl, who no doubt approved of a Palestinian homeland, they reminded us, if we indeed need reminding, that when they chant "kill the Jews" between chanting "death to America," they mean what they say.
For understandable reasons, well-meaning people continue to believe that with the correct aid package and enough economic development, all will be well. Once their bellies are full, we are told, their minds will radiate Karma. The horror of this conflict is that our opponents are not speaking from their stomachs and brains, but from their souls. Hatred is their soulcraft. It may well be true that they comprise only 10 percent of the Islamic population, but that still means 100 million people. A large legion is at the gate.