CNN these days is a safe place for progressives to spout off, if only because so very few people attend to its broadcasts. A January 2014 report showed CNN losing 29 percent of its total viewers; the station’s prime time numbers showed 41 percent of its audience jumping ship in the space of just 12 months.
But in mid-January of this year, only a few days after two Islamic terrorists penetrated the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and murdered seventeen people associated with the satirical magazine, US Representative Chris Murphy felt invincible enough to strike a Chamberlain pose on CNN.
Said Mr. Murphy on CNN’s "State of the Union," drone strikes are "bulletin board recruiting material" for terrorist organizations. He warned that the United States "shouldn't be full of such hubris" as to launch actions that lead to more attacks like the ones in Paris and Belgium.
Mr. Murphy’s analysis is a bit tipsy for a few reasons. Just to begin with, the “actions” that precipitated the attack in Paris were not military and involved no drones. Whether or not the journalists at Charlie Hebdo deserved to be cut down with automatic rifles, banned in Mr. Murphy’s state, is a question best left to Mr. Murphy’s tender conscience. The two Islamic terrorists were moved to slaughter the journalists at Charlie Hebdo because of the humiliations Islam suffered at the hands of cartoonists, which would seem to imply a psychological trigger set off in the brains of terrorists by events far less hubristic than drone strikes.
Then too, droning and air strikes have been pretty much the ONLY military response President Barack Obama – who, Mr. Murphy may agree, is NOT motivated by an excess of hubris -- has been willing to deploy against, just to mention the most recent Islamic terrorist organization, ISIS, which has moved into a vacuum caused by the retreat of American Forces from Iraq.
That vacuum has been caused in part by Mr. Obama’s timidity. Mr. Murphy will recall the “red line” drawn by Mr. Obama in Syria, which quickly became a pink line and then disappeared, smothered by the all too frequent ineffective rhetoric that pours out of the White House like the smoke arising from the consulate in Benghazi that was burned to the ground, under the watch of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama, both of whom doubtless are free of the taint of hubris.
The White House said at the time that the Benghazi “protesters” had been inflamed by a cartoonish video that had held up the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, to ridicule. This was not true; the “protestors” were, in fact, well-armed and highly motivated Islamic terrorists. The Benghazi consulate likely was a transfer station used by the United States to shuttle arms to fighters in Syria, among other places, who were opposing the regime of Bashir Assad, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s clients. The moderate Syrian opposition, owing to Mr. Obama’s timidity, was snuffed by Assad, after which ISIS, the mother of all Islamic terrorist groups, nudged out of Syria, quickly overran northern Iraq.
The notion that the Benghazi terrorists were actuated by an amateur video was patently absurd, a useful fancy of politicians in their campaign modes. The wellsprings of Islamic irredentism run much deeper than that. The companion notion that recruitment to the caliphate cause is driven by the use of drones on the part of the United States is equally absurd. Among Islamic terrorists, ANY opposition will excite a disproportionate retaliatory opposition. Islamic terrorists will succeed in destroying tender democratic shoots in the Middle East, in beheading western journalists, in wrapping women in burkas and denying them ordinary civil participation, in burning Christian churches and extirpating all who will not submit to Islam – which, come to think of it, means “submission” -- until they meet an opposition more vigorous than any proposed thus far by Mr. Murphy or Mr. Obama. Terrorists must be defeated, and this can only happen when the terrorists KNOW they are defeated.
While it is true that Islamic terrorism cannot be defeated by drones alone, neither can Islamic terrorism be defeated through the craven submission of the West. Mr. Murphy and Mr. Obama cannot hope to offer a saving resistance to Islamic terrorism by refusing to call things by their right names. Naming rightly lies at the center of all religion, philosophy and truth. If you cannot name the thing that will kill you, you are already dead.
What the West needs during its moments of greatest peril are Churchills rather than Chamberlains. Winston Churchill could properly name the enemy; Chamberlain could not and, perversely, would not. At a minimum, the murderous terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo means that the violent will bear away everything that is precious to us – if we let them.