Giving New Meaning to 'Let's Roll'

Article excerpt

Byline: Victor Davis Hanson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Rather than run toward danger, Obama's America curls up

We all run across the pill bug in our gardens. At the first sign of danger, the tiny, paranoid crustacean suddenly turns into a ball - in hopes danger will have passed when he unrolls.

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan and the current scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On Aug. 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed based on intelligence reports of planned al Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Yet we still have more than a month to go before the 12th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an iconic date for radical Islamists.

Such pre-emptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious. Yet if we shut down our entire Middle East public profile on the threat of terrorism, what will we do when more anti-American violence arises? Should we close more embassies for more days, or return home altogether?

Apparently al Qaeda did not get the message that the administration's euphemisms of workplace violence, "overseas contingency operations " man-caused disaster "and jihad as"a holy struggle" were intended as outreach to the global Muslim community.

Instead, the terrorists are getting their second wind, as they interpret our loud magnanimity as weakness - or, more likely, simple confusion. They increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of shutting down and curling up until danger passes.

Our enemies have grounds for such cockiness. President Obama promised swift punishment for those who attacked U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya, and killed four Americans. So far, the killers roam free. Evidence abounds that they have been seen publicly in Libya.

Instead of blaming radical Islamist killers for that attack, the Obama re-election campaign team fobbed the assault on a supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic video-maker. That yarn was untrue and was greeted as politically correct appeasement in the Middle East.

All these Libyan developments take place against a backdrop of lead from behind. Was it wise for American officials to brag that the world's largest military had taken a subordinate role in removing Moammar Gadhafi - with a military operation contingent on approval from the United Nations and the Arab League, but not the U.S. Congress?

No one knows what to do about the mess in Syria. …