President Obama’s interview with al-Arabiya television is remarkable in several ways, but what strikes me the most is that it coincided with the first air strikes on Pakistan under his administration: 22 people were killed, including between four and seven Taliban/al-Qaeda bad guys.
In the Arabiya interview, Obama was at his charming best, and the easily charmed were bowled over. Andrew Sullivan, for example, fairly swooned, and announced it’s "about the same thing as inviting Rick Warren or supping with George Will: it’s about R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
What would you say if the police came into your neighborhood to confront reported criminals, killed a few — and also managed to knock off 18 or so bystanders? Would you say this shows the police respect the neighborhood?
All the sweet talk won’t drown out the protests of the elected president of Afghanistan, who wants us to stop bombing his people too. Yet, truth be told, Obama’s honeyed words are alluring:
"My job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries." "Al-Arabiya: The largest one." "Obama: The largest one, Indonesia. And so what I want to communicate is the fact that in all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I’ve come to understand is that regardless of your faith — and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers — regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams."
Even as he was speaking, American drones were snuffing out lives and his generals were planning a wider war. That seems to be the signature Obama style: cool, calm, and collected as he talks out of one side of his mouth, while he’s giving the order to kill out of the other. If that doesn’t scare you, then you’ve probably had a little too much of that sweet-tasting Obama-brand Kool-Aid.