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We have had a nice few days without contemplating the detritus of the current occupant. Events intrude though, and we need to pay attention to his calumnies that those who oppose his agreement with Iran are those who want war, and they are allied with hard-liners in Iran who shout, “death to America.” John Hinderaker of Power Line posts on the president’s “lowest moment yet.”
Today President Obama gave a speech at AmericanUniversity, urging acceptance of his nuclear deal with Iran. It was the usual exercise in deception and demagoguery, and he skated up to the edge of accusing opponents of the deal–a majority of Americans, apparently–of treason.
After some initial reminiscence about the Cold War, Obama leaped right into misrepresenting the agreement’s terms:
“After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
The “prohibition” consists of a pious declaration by Iran which it can repudiate at any time. The agreement contains no provisions that will permanently impede Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons. The provisions that (if adhered to) would materially impede Iran’s nuclear weapons program expire in no more than 15 years.
Next, the president offered up a revisionist history of the war in Iraq–a topic of dubious relevance at best:
[M]any of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.
Whereas others who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case in favor of the Iran deal–Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, for example. So what? Next comes a breathtaking series of lies:
“I said that America didn’t just have to end that war — we had to end the mindset that got us there in the first place. It was a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy; a mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus; a mindset that exaggerated threats beyond what the intelligence supported.”
No American administration has ever preferred war to diplomacy. The war in Iraq was anything but unilateral, as more than 20 countries participated in the U.S.-led coalition. And the intelligence on Iraq’s WMDs was not exaggerated, as we know from the now-public October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. (Nor, as we now know, was that intelligence entirely wrong.) …
… If Obama had said that the Republican caucus is making common cause with Iran’s hardliners, it would have been an unambiguous accusation of treason. By phrasing it the other way around–the hardliners are making common cause with Republicans–Obama gives himself a slight margin of deniability. But either way, it is a disgusting slander.
It is also delusional. Iran’s hardliners are the regime in power. The mullahs are not aligning themselves with Republicans; on the contrary, they are trumpeting the fact that they got everything they wanted in their negotiations with John Kerry and Barack Obama. But Obama can’t, and won’t, confront that reality. He will just go on slandering his political opponents and lying to the American people.
Barack Obama is a terrible president, but he is a worse man.
Charles Krauthammer devoted his weekly column to the controversy.
… It is only because so many Democrats are defecting that Obama gave the AU speech in the first place. And why he tried so mightily to turn the argument into a partisan issue — those warmongering Republicans attacking a president offering peace in our time. Obama stooped low, accusing the Republican caucus of making “common cause” with the Iranian “hard-liners” who shout “Death to America.”
Forget the gutter ad hominem. This is delusional. Does Obama really believe the Death-to-America hard-liners are some kind of KKK fringe? They are the government, for God’s sake — the entire state apparatus of the Islamic Republic from the Revolutionary Guards to the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei who for decades have propagated, encouraged and applauded those very same “Death to America” chants.
Common cause with the Iranian hard-liners? Who more than Obama? For years, they conduct a rogue nuclear weapons program in defiance of multiple Security Council declarations of its illegality backed by sanctions and embargoes. Obama rewards them with a treaty that legitimates their entire nuclear program, lifts the embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles and revives an economy — described by Iran’s president as headed back to “the Stone Age” under sanctions — with an injection of up to $150 billion in unfrozen assets, permission for the unlimited selling of oil and full access to the international financial system.
With this agreement, this repressive, intolerant, aggressive, supremely anti-American regime — the chief exporter of terror in the world — is stronger and more entrenched than it has ever been.
Common cause, indeed.
Even David Brooks sees the agreement’s problems.
… Many members of Congress will be tempted to accept the terms of our partial surrender as the least bad option in the wake of our defeat. I get that. But in voting for this deal they may be affixing their names to an arrangement that will increase the chance of more comprehensive war further down the road.
Iran is a fanatical, hegemonic, hate-filled regime. If you think its radicalism is going to be softened by a few global trade opportunities, you really haven’t been paying attention to the Middle East over the past four decades.
Iran will use its $150 billion windfall to spread terror around the region and exert its power. It will incrementally but dangerously cheat on the accord. Armed with money, ballistic weapons and an eventual nuclear breakout, it will become more aggressive. As the end of the nuclear delay comes into view, the 45th or 46th president will decide that action must be taken.
Economic and political defeats can be as bad as military ones. Sometimes when you surrender to a tyranny you lay the groundwork for a more cataclysmic conflict to come.
Andrew Malcolm calls him the very good talker. Paul Greenberg wonders why this great glib talker has nothing to say about the videos of Planned Parenthood selling parts. All we hear is crickets.
Silence comes in many varieties. It can be golden. Or just silence. Like the white space between the words on this page.
There is the silence that sounds like a confession, even if it isn’t. (“On counsel’s advice, I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself.”)
There is the silence of the perjurer as he weighs every word in an attempt to devise an escape clause. “To the best of my recollection…” as Alger Hiss used to say before trying to refute Whittaker Chambers’ irrefutable testimony about Soviet espionage in the State Department.
There is the silence of prudence personified by Silent Cal (Coolidge), who never uttered an unnecessary word. As opposed to the witness who chooses to brazen it out (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”) but only digs himself into a deeper hole. And then has to take refuge in semantic games. (“It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”)
Then there is the silence of an ordinarily glib politician who suddenly has nothing to say about an event in the news. As when the Hon. Barack Obama has no comment about those revealing videos featuring doctors with Planned Parenthood, who are caught talking about the fetal parts they’re selling. The rest of the country may be repelled by those tapes, but our president remains … silent. …
Jason Riley writes on how the president has created racial discord.
One great irony of the current presidency is that Barack Obama won the support of so many seasoned political journalists—not to mention otherwise-skeptical voters—who thought that a black president would improve racial unity. David Remnick of the New Yorker called him “the bridge.” Time magazine’s Joe Klein assured readers that Mr. Obama, who “transcends the racial divide so effortlessly,” would help America turn the page on race. But six years in, that hasn’t happened.
According to a CBS News/New York Times poll in July, nearly 60% of Americans, including large majorities of both blacks and whites, say race relations “are generally bad.” Almost 40% say they are getting worse. Other surveys back those findings. CNN pollsters reported in March that the share of people who think race relations have improved on Mr. Obama’s watch had fallen to 15% this year from 32% in 2009, while the share who think relations have worsened grew to 39% from 6%. A Gallup survey in January reported that 62% of respondents are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the state of race relations in the country, versus 40% in 2008.
The press has dutifully reported this racial retrogression but is reluctant to lay any blame on Mr. Obama. The president obviously isn’t responsible for the racially charged incidents that have occurred on his watch, from Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore, to Charleston, S.C. Still, he ought to be held accountable for the racial impact of his reactions, his polices and his political bedfellows.
Mr. Obama campaigned as a racial conciliator, someone who believed, as he said in a speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, that “there is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America. There’s the United States of America.”
But that is not how he has governed. As president, he has repeatedly—and often prematurely—taken sides in local police matters involving black suspects. …
Victor Davis Hanson asks if Israel will “do the unthinkable to prevent the unimaginable.”
The Obama administration seems peeved that almost everyone in Israel, left and right, has no use for the present Iranian–American deal to thwart Iran’s efforts to get the bomb.
Indeed, at times John Kerry has hinted darkly that Israel’s opposition to the pact might incur American wrath should the deal be tabled — even though Kerry knows that the polls show a clear majority of Americans being against the proposed agreement while remaining quite supportive of the Jewish state. President Obama, from time to time, suggests that his agreement is being sabotaged by nefarious lobbying groups, big-time check writers, and neoconservative supporters of the Iraq war — all shorthand, apparently, for pushy Jewish groups.
Obama and his negotiators seem surprised that Israelis take quite seriously Iranian leaders’ taunts over the past 35 years that they would like to liquidate the Jewish state and everyone in it. The Israelis, for some reason, remember that well before Hitler came to power, he had bragged about the idea of killing Jews en masse in his sloppily composed autobiographical Mein Kampf. Few in Germany or abroad had taken the raving young Hitler too seriously. Even in the late 1930s, when German Jews were being rounded up and haphazardly killed on German streets by state-sanctioned thugs, most observers considered such activities merely periodic excesses or outbursts from non-governmental Black- and Brownshirts. …
… The Israelis have taken to heart lots of lessons over the last 70 years. They have concluded that often the world quietly wants Israel to deal with existential threats emanating from the Middle East while loudly damning it when it does. They have learned from the experience of the Holocaust that, for good or evil, Jews are on their own and can never again trust in the world’s professed humanity to prevent another Holocaust. And they are convinced that they can also never again err on the side of the probability that national leaders, with deadly weapons in their grasp, do not really mean all the unhinged things they shout and scream about killing Jews.
Given all that, we should conclude that any deal that leads, now or in the near future, to an Iranian bomb is unacceptable to Israel — a nation that will likely soon have no choice but to consider the unthinkable in order to prevent the unimaginable.
Good selection of cartoons today.