Oh, boy. A piece released yesterday afternoon by Investors Business Daily reads like a laundry list of unacceptable behavior from the president of the United States, an exceptional nation, and I just could not keep quiet about it. It starts with a revelation gleaned from “leaked cables”:
Leaked cables show Japan nixed a presidential apology to Hiroshima and Nagasaki for using nukes to end the overseas contingency operation known as World War II. Will the next president apologize for the current one?
And more details:
A heretofore secret cable dated Sept. 3, 2009, was recently released by WikiLeaks. Sent to Secretary of State Clinton, it reported Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka telling U.S. Ambassador John Roos that “the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a ‘nonstarter.’”
The Japanese feared the apology would be exploited by anti-nuclear groups and those opposed to the defensive alliance between Japan and the U.S.
As appalling as this may be, it comes as no surprise. President Obama famously said that he was “uncomfortable” with the notion of victory, arguing of all things that the very word evoked images of Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. Remember that?
So, color me unsurprised about the rebuffed attempt at apologizing to Japan. Appalling, considering the toll that Japanese forces took upon an entire generation, and the way that our POWs were treated? You bet. Surprising? Absolutely not.
What absolutely floored me, however, was another excerpt from the IBD piece. This one elicited expletives, directed at my computer screen:
The obsessive need of this president to apologize for American exceptionalism and our defense of freedom continued recently when Barack Obama’s State Department (run by Hillary Clinton) contacted the family of al-Qaida propagandist and recruiter Samir Khan to “express its condolences” to his family.
Khan, a right-hand man to Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed along with Awlaki in an airstrike in Yemen on Sept. 30. We apologized for killing a terrorist before he could help kill any more of us.
What in the world would possess this administration to actually apologize to the family of a dead radical Islamic terrorist? To be honest, I couldn’t believe what I was reading and, even though I generally trust Investors Business Daily, I decided to look for more sourcing.
Sure enough, from a Friday, October 7 article in the Charlotte Observer:
An official from the U.S. State Department has called the Charlotte family of al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan to offer the government’s condolences on his death in a U.S. drone attack last week in Yemen, according to a family spokesman.
“They were very apologetic (for not calling the family sooner) and offered condolences,” Jibril Hough said about the Thursday call from the State Department to Khan’s father, Zafar.
The phone call came a day after the family released a statement through Hough that condemned the “assassination” of their 25-year-old son – a U.S. citizen – and said they were “appalled” that they had not heard from the U.S. government to discuss their son’s remains or answer questions about why Khan was not afforded due process.
On Friday, State Department spokesman Harry Edwards confirmed to the Observer that the call had been made, but said “privacy issues” kept him from offering details.
Hough said the Thursday conversation lasted a few minutes.
“It wasn’t just ‘I’m sorry’ and hang-up,” said Hough, who added that the phone call included no discussion of the status or condition of Khan’s remains.
Khan was killed along with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
Also a U.S. citizen, al-Awlaki was a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and appeared to be the main target of the drone attack.
Hough said Khan’s father’s reaction to the call was “kind of positive and optimistic.”
“The (family) statement appears to have gotten their attention.”
But, Hough added, the family would still like answers to the civil liberties-related questions.
“The discussion doesn’t stop with a phone call, though the contact was a step in the right direction,” he said.
Khan authored a radical blog while he lived in Charlotte – one his father, Hough and others unsuccessfully tried to persuade him to abandon. Then, in 2009, Khan moved to Yemen to produce al-Qaida’s “Inspire,” an English-language online magazine. In one early edition, Khan said he was “proud to be a traitor to America.”
One of his articles was titled “How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”
I was flabbergasted. Being PR-minded, for the life of me I cannot figure out what possible gain the president would have in overseeing such an apology. Yes, the dead terrorist was an American citizen, like Anwar al-Awlaki — so what? Were family members well-known? Were they outspoken against radical Islam? Were they Obama contributors?
(NOTE: Incidentally, that last question–about whether the Khan family were Obama contributors–was more rhetorical than anything else. However, a quick check of campaign contributions from folks named “Khan” in Charlotte, North Carolina reveals three — Sarah Khan, Anika Khan and Rahman Khan. Sarah Khan contributed $250 to the 2008 campaign of Minnesota Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison, the Muslim Democrat congressman who made headlines for insisting upon using the Koran at his congressional swearing in ceremony. Anika Khan contributed $750 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, and Democrat Erskine Bowles in 2002. Rahman Khan contributed $1,000 to Obama for America in April 2007. According to an October 7, 2011 article at NewsDay, Samir Khan’s mother is named “Sarah.” Whether that is the same “Sarah Khan” who contributed to Ellison’s congressional campaign, I simply don’t know.)
I don’t know if I’m ready, yet, to believe that an apology of that sort would be politically motivated. Raiding a guitar factory? Sure. Funneling hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in unwise loans? Absolute. Apologizing to an individual family of a dead terrorist in order to possibly glean a $1,000 check before next November sure seems to fail the cost-benefit analysis.
Nevertheless, if the apology was not politically motivated, then it must have been an act of compassion. Frankly, that’s not much better for the president. Call me heartless, but I do not believe it appropriate to extend any courtesy whatsoever to the family members of someone bent on killing Americans. Like it or not, Samir Khan was a cancer. He aided and abetted in the murder of innocent civilians, and he would have done so again but for the smart bomb that caused his death. Any family with allegiance to the nation they now call home should have considered their son to be dead already once he committed to a life of jihad.
This president should know better. And, if he doesn’t, then the remainder of the populace concerned with issues of national security and terrorism should know exactly where he stands.