President Obama used his regular weekly radio address on Saturday to discuss the San Bernardino shootings, which now have been categorized—although not by Obama—as the worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. He will give a televised speech from the Oval Office Sunday night.
In the radio address, Obama offered very tepid stuff in terms of the terrorist connection, as one might expect from Obama.
The speech began with praise for the police and rescuers and sympathy for the victims and families (and prayers; notify the Daily News that the president has gone off the reservation). But when Obama starts discussing the causes of the attack, he defers to the investigators—although those very investigators have now said they are investigating it as a terrorist attack. All he has to say about that is the following:
It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror. And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years—the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies. We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors. And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us—government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders—need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.
Let’s take that sentence by sentence.
“It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror.”
“Possible” is a word with very little meaning, that sounds as though it means more than it does. “Possible” merely means that something has not been absolutely ruled out and that it’s therefore not impossible. The possibility can be .0001% or 99.9999% or anything in-between. “Entirely” possible is another one of those phrases that gives the impression of being stronger than it is. It doesn’t really tell you whether it’s likely or not (if the speaker meant “likely” he’d have said it). It just means it is really really really possible.
In addition, note the phrase “were radicalized,” which suggests a lack of agency on the perpetrators’ parts.
“And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years—the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies.”
Nothing to do with Islam so far; just the generalized “extremist ideologies” such as white supremacy, which no doubt Obama had fervently wished this attack had been motivated by the minute he heard about the shooting. Another “violent extremist ideology” among so many.
Once again we have a passive verb, “succumbing,” that suggests lack of agency.
“We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors.”
The first—and only—mention of the fact that ISIS (which he continues to call ISIL) has sophisticated propaganda with a wide reach, urging its supporters to violence and mayhem worldwide in the name of (shhh, don’t mention it except hidden in that first “I” of the acronym “ISIL”) Islam.
“And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us—government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders—need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”
Generic boilerplate—how, pray tell? How? By being the weak horse?
And note the third phrase that suggests lack of agency on the part of the terrorists, “falling victim.” So, the perpetrators are “victims” too.
Then Obama segues to gun control, his favorite topic these days. Even though this crime occurred in California, land of strict gun control, and even though he can’t quite figure out a single suggestion that would have made a particle of difference here, he still harps on gun control as some general way to prevent these things.
Obama ends with:
“We are strong. And we are resilient. And we will not be terrorized.”
He thinks by saying it, he can make it so. That’s the way his life has worked. Words got him where he is. But his actions (and/or lack thereof) have made us much less safe, less strong, less resilient, and more vulnerable to the terrorists here and abroad. And the terrorists are well aware of it.
Whats in store for tonight?
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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