Peggy Noonan writing in the WSJ
* * *
After great pain, a formal feeling comes...
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs...
In the days after Paris Emily Dickinson’s poem kept ringing through my mind as I tried to figure out what I felt — and, surprisingly, didn’t feel.
I did not, as the facts emerged and the story took its full size, feel surprised.
Nor did I feel swept by emotion, as I had in the past.
The sentimental tweeting of that great moment in “Casablanca” when they stand to sing “La Marseillaise” left me unmoved. I didn’t feel anger, really. I felt grave, as if something huge and terrible had shifted and come closer. Did you feel this too?
* YES, PEGGY; YES, I DID. (AND I STILL DO...)
After the pain of previous terror incidents, from 9/11 straight through to Madrid 2004 (train bombings, 191 dead), London 2005 (suicide bombers, 52 dead) and Paris 10 months ago (shootings, 17 dead), the focus was always on the question: What will the leaders — the political and policy elite — think?
* NOTHING SENSIBLE - OF THAT WE CAN BE CONFIDENT; AT LEAST AS IT APPLIES TO THE OBAMAS AND MERKELS OF THE WORLD.
This attack immediately carried a different question: What will the people think, Mr. and Mrs. Europe on the street, Mom and Pop watching in America? What are the thoughts and conclusions of normal people who are not blinkered by status, who can see things clear?
* THE PROBLEM IS... WHAT IS "NORMAL" NOWADAYS? WHOSE "NORMALCY" IS WINNING? OBAMA WAS NOT SIMPLE ELECTED - HE WAS RE-ELECTED. THE "BLUE STATES" AND "BLUE CITIES" ARE BLUE BECAUSE THE INMATES RUN THE ASYLUMS!
I feel certain that in the days after the attack people were thinking: This isn’t going to stop. These primitive, ferocious young men will not stop until we stop them. The question is how. That’s the only discussion.
* FOLKS... PEGGY... EVEN THE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS ISN'T ACTUALLY TRYING TO STOP OBAMA FROM BRINGING IN MORE SYRIAN "REFUGEES." AT BEST THEY'RE DEMANDING BETTER "VETTING." (WHEN WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE'S NO WAY TO "VET" THIRD-WORLDERS.)
Madrid and London took place during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...
* YOU MEAN THE WARS WE'VE LOST...? (RHETORICAL QUESTION.)
...and could be taken as responses to Western actions. The Charlie Hebdo massacre was in its way a story about radical Islamic antipathy to the rough Western culture of free speech. But last week’s Paris attack was different. It was about radical, violent Islam’s hatred of the West and desire to kill and terrorize its people. They will not be appeased; we won’t talk them out of it at a negotiating table or by pulling out of Iraq or staying out of Syria. They will have their caliphate, and they will hit Europe again, as they will surely hit us again, to get it.
So again, the only question: What to do?
* PEGGY... FOLKS... THIS IS THE COUNTRY THAT COLLECTIVELY FLIPPED ITS LID WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH ALLOWED TERRORISTS TO BE WATERBOARDED IN VERY LIMITED AND EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES! PEGGY... FOLKS... THE AMERICAN SHEEPLE AREN'T EVEN COMFORTABLE WITH "ENHANCED INTERROGATION."
(*SNORTING AS I SHAKE MY HEAD*)
On this issue the American president is, amazingly, barely relevant. The leaders and people of Europe and America will not be looking to him for wisdom, will, insight or resolve. No commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces can be wholly irrelevant, but to the extent one can be, Mr. Obama is. He has misjudged ISIS from the beginning — they were not, actually, the junior varsity — to the end.
* FOLKS. WE ARMED - OBAMA SUPPORTED - VARIOUS FACTIONS THAT ARE NOW ALLIED WITH ISIS. THIS WAS NOT "MISJUDGMENT," THIS WAS STUPIDITY AND RECKLESSNESS ON A SCALE WHICH BOGGLES THE MIND OF THE SANE AMONG US!
President Obama claimed last week, to George Stephanopoulos, that ISIS has been “contained.” “I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” he said just before Paris blew.
* OBAMA'S PRESIDENCY - OBAMA'S GOVERNMENT - REPRESENTS A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TO AMERICA AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT ISIS CAN ONLY DREAM OF BEING.
After the attacks Mr. Obama went on TV, apparently to comfort us and remind us it’s OK, he’s in charge. He prattled on about violence being at odds with “universal values.” He proceeded as if unaware that there are no actually universal values, that right now the values of the West and radical Islam are clashing, violently, and we have to face it.
The mainstream press saw right through him. At the news conference, CNN’s Jim Acosta referred to the “frustration” of “a lot of Americans,” who wonder: “Why can’t we take out these bastards?”
* THAT'S WHAT YOU CALL "SEEING RIGHT THROUGH HIM?" REALLY? SERIOUSLY?
The president sighed and talked down to him...
* AND...? SO...? IS CNN NOW GOING TO CALL FOR OBAMA'S REMOVAL FROM OFFICE FOR GROSS INCOMPETENCE? I... DON'T... THINK... SO.
The public is appropriately alarmed about exactly who we might be letting in.
* WE'RE NOT JUST "LETTING THEM IN." WE'RE ACTIVELY BRINGING THEM IN! (WAKE UP, PEGGY!)
It would be easy, and commonsensical, to follow their prompting and pause the refugee program, figure out how to screen those seeking entrance more carefully, and let in only the peaceable. If that takes time, it takes time.
* WHY ARE WE TAKING IN REFUGEES IN THE FIRST PLACE...?!?!
* FOLKS... IT'S ONE THING TO TAKE IN "FAMILY"... TO TAKE IN THOSE WHO SHARE A NATION'S VALUES AND CULTURE. BUT CLEARLY THIS ISN'T THE CASE WITH THE REFUGEES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT! AND IT'S NOT SIMPLY "RELIGION." NO! AGAIN... IT'S VALUES... IT'S CULTURE. (AND FRANKLY ON SEVERAL POINTS OF THE SPECTRUM I HAVE TO GIVE THE MUSLIMS THE HIGH-FIVE - BECAUSE, FRANKLY... MODERN WESTERN CULTURE IS ROTTING FROM WITHIN. BUT... THAT'S A DISCUSSION FOR ANOTHER POST.)
Hillary Clinton Thursday delivered a speech on her strategy to face the current crisis; it sounded a lot like Mr. Obama’s strategy, whatever that is.
Finally, continued travels through the country show me that people continue to miss Ronald Reagan’s strength and certitude. In interviews and question-and-answer sessions, people often refer to Reagan’s “optimism.” That was his power, they say — he was optimistic.
* HE WAS ALSO BRILLIANT, PRINCIPLED, AND A LOVER OF AMERICA. OBAMA ON THE OTHER HAND CAMPAIGNED UPON A PROMISE OF "FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGING" AMERICA. AND, FOLKS... HE HAS. HOW DO YOU LIKE OBAMA'S "NEW" AMERICA?