It seems like a long, long, time ago that Daniel Pearl was kidnapped, held hostage, and then beheaded by jihadists in early 2002. At the time, it was a profoundly shocking event, and part of the horror was the fact that it was recorded on video and posted online (a sight I did not choose to watch and never will).
Despite 9/11, many of us were still comparatively naive back then about what the radical jihadists wanted and what outrages they were prepared to perpetrate to get there. The murder of Daniel Pearl was another wake-up call, and it was followed by many others. For a while, many Americans seemed to understand the nature of the enemy.
President Obama, however, has dedicated himself to undoing that knowledge and replacing it with PC pap. He used the occasion of the signing of the Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act to continue that mission, as Mark Steyn describes in his piece excoriating Obama for his remarks at the ceremony.
Here’s the full text of what Obama said. Missing, of course, is what he didn’t say. Nothing about who murdered Pearl; just that his “loss” was “one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.”
Obama managed to get through the entire occasion without saying that Pearl was killed, much less that he was murdered. He labeled Pearl as a target of “silencing” because he was a generic journalist rather than a specifically Jewish one.
Obama allows “those” who “silenced” Pearl to remain nameless and featureless. But one of them, of course, was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, radical Muslim (are you listening, Eric Holder?) jihadist and mass murderer on whose behalf the Obama administration has been working overtime to secure his day in a NY civilian court rather than a military tribunal.
Obama may be keeping relatively mum. But KSM himself had a bit more to say, and he apparently was a mite more clear on the subject [emphasis mine]:
On March 15, 2007, the Pentagon released a statement that Mohammed had confessed to [Pearl's] murder. The statement quoted Mohammed as saying, “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.
What happened to Pearl was vile and sickening. But it is also outrageous (although in a completely different way) that our current president cannot manage to describe it properly: name the perpetrators and their ideology, say why the victim was actually targeted, and summon up the requisite intensity and moral outrage in response.
Other people will have to do it for him. As Steyn says:
Daniel Pearl was the prototype for a new kind of terror. In his wake came other victims…But Daniel Pearl was the first, and in his calm, coherent final words understood why he was there:
“My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American from Encino, California, USA …”
He didn’t have a prompter. But he spoke the truth. That’s all President Obama owed him – to do the same.
President Obama will not pay that debt, and it is no coincidence. It is a conscious decision on his part.
But there was still another Obamic peculiarity about that signing ceremony the other day. The bill that was named after Daniel Pearl was designed to, as the president said:
…[S]end…a strong message from the United States government and from the State Department that we are paying attention to how other governments are operating when it comes to the press. It has the State Department each year chronicling how press freedom is operating as one component of our human rights assessment, but it also looks at countries that are — governments that are specifically condoning or facilitating this kind of press repression, singles them out and subjects them to the gaze of world opinion in ways that I think are extraordinarily important.
And yet, at the end of the ceremony, the following exchange occurred between the president and the US press:
Q Speaking of press freedom, could you answer a couple of questions on BP?
THE PRESIDENT: You’re certainly free to ask them, Chip.
Q Will you answer them? How about a question on Iran?
THE PRESIDENT: We won’t be answering — I’m not doing a press conference today, but we’ll be seeing you guys during the course of this week. Okay?
By the standards of the world, this hardly qualifies as press repression or intimidation. But it’s a continuation of Obama’s contempt for and lack of cooperation with a press that remains for the most part his admiring, excuse-making lapdog. What’s more, Obama has singled out Fox News for special snubbing and criticism (see this, for example)—which is not exactly intimidation or repression, either, but is antithetical to the functioning of a free press.
The Orwellian ironies abound.
[ADDENDUM: At his blog “Had Enough Therapy?” Stuart Schneiderman sums it up well, I think:
A president who has expressed outrage against the indignity of asking an illegal immigrant to show his papers when caught speeding has nothing to say about the decapitation of an American Jew.]