"This is a time of war. And yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.

. . .

"It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedyBut this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next."

Barack Hussein Obama, at Fort Hood, Texas, November 10, 2009

President Obama is a wordsmith. One cannot listen to him without being impressed by his eloquence.  He is sharply contrastable, in this respect, to his predecessor in office, who often faltered in speech and gave fresh meaning to the word "inarticulate."

Because Mr. Obama is a masterful speaker, it does not necessarily follow that he is equally adept as a thinker. There is, in fact, an argument to be made that glibness is the most ambiguously beneficial gift of a chief executive, since it enables him to skirt issues with words and phrases, and to misguide with thin shades of meaning and subtle nuances. A compelling thinker need not hide behind words.

Pay close attention to Mr. Obama's choice of words at Fort Hood in honor of those patriots killed by Dr. Nidal M. Hasan. The more I ponder the words, the less I appreciate them.

Note first that Mr. Obama characterizes Dr. Hasan's murderous acts as "incomprehensible" and "hard to comprehend."  It is as if the doctor's acts were the sociological equivalent of Pierre Fermat's "last theorem," which for three centuries remained an enigma to mathematicians. But be not deceived:  the Fort Hood massacre is hardly an enigma. Let me explain (at least for Mr. Obama's sake). You see, there are Islamic terrorists, who hate this country and the values on which it stands.  These people are unwilling to co-exist with "infidels" and believe that killing them – i.e., people like you and me – in the name of Allah, is a holy and righteous endeavor. These jihadis are barbaric, cold-blooded killers, who rain terror upon others in the name of God.  The evidence supports Dr. Hasan's being an Islamic terrorist.  He yelled "Allahhu Akbar" when he killed his fellow soldiers.  He attempted to communicate with Al Qaeda before that.  He argued in favor of the philosophy of suicide bombing.  Am I missing something?  Is there anything here "incomprehensible?"  Like Hitleran fascism, Islamic terrorism is unquestionably shocking.  It is nothing short of appalling that a large community of people in the twenty-first century remain fixated in the seventh century and lost in a state of abysmal cultural ignorance!  But "incomprehensible"?  Not hardly.

Secondly, Mr. Obama uses the word "tragedy" to describe Dr. Hasan's rampage at Fort Hood.  I will grant our President that this word may refer, nowadays, to any calamity or sorrowful event or sequence of events.  But it is a loaded term, with a rich history that continues to hover over it. What happened at Fort Hood is far more than a tragedy!  Sophocles's "Oedipus the King" was tragic.  So was Shakespeare's "Hamlet."  The same may be said of Arthur Miller's "Willie Loman."  Whether of royal or common extraction, a tragic figure is one who is generally noble and moral, but possesses a flaw, which in turn leads to his undoing.  Tragedy evokes enormous pathos in us, because the protagonist is flawed, but not necessarily evil.  Terrorists, by contrast, are indeed evil.  They are self-righteous, shifty-eyed cowards. They murder by sneaking up on their victims or, in Dr. Hasan's case, the unarmed men and women who shared the same uniform!

One final observation.  Mr. Obama made a theological point at Fort Hood.  He stated that "no just and loving God looks upon [acts such as those of Dr. Hasan] . . . with favor."  I find myself in full agreement with this statement, but am still asking, "How does it, when spoken in a government-owned military installation, square with his sense of the disconnection between religion and politics?"  Our President, remember, refused to host an ecumenical worship service in the east room of the White House on National Prayer Day last May, yet he now has little compunction, as commander in chief, about expounding upon the nature of God. This is an interesting contradiction.  Does he really favor a secular public sphere, or is he willing to set aside his secularism when circumstances demand it?  In other words, is he a true secularist who thinks of America's public faith as an irrelevancy, or is he simply a hypocrite? 

I tend to believe that Mr. Obama is, in most religious matters, a political opportunist.  He says and does what he thinks will play well to those observing or listening to him. His religious views change from venue to venue.  When he is worshipping in Jeremiah Wright's church, the President grooves to liberation theology. When speaking to the military, he seems to possess another point of view, much more bland in nature.  The one enduring constant in his opportunism is "political correctness."  Under no circumstances can there ever be an "Islamic terrorist,"  especially when the phrase describes the perpetrator of an attack against this country during Mr. Obama's watch.  That would not benefit him in running for a second term, now would it?

I predict that, eventually, the preponderance of the American people will see Mr. Obama for what he is – a glib orator who is in love with his own exaltation and who seldom allows truth or fact to overpower him.  This picture seems laughable, but no one is laughing.  Mr. Obama did, after all, win the presidency.  Plus his  Marxist- and Muslim-influenced positions are respectable to virtually every university professor in the country, along with most of the media as well.  Every narcissist needs a core-cheering gallery.

November 12, 2009