Following the 9-11 attacks, the world showed respect for Americans with displays of sympathy in their home countries. There was no mass influx of world leaders following the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on American soil. Since so many of the world's leaders marched in Paris in solidarity (over 17 dead French citizens), the absence of U.S. leaders caused a commotion among right-leaning pundits. This clearly provided these folks with a nice opportunity to bash the Executive Branch, even if the president had ample justification for not making the trip. Press Secretary Earnest admitted the optics of the absence of high-profile Americans were not good.
Immediately following the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, President Obama called François Hollande and pledged our FBI to help them find the suspects. We actively helped find the killers and shared our own intelligence we collected by our surveillance of ISIL and Al Qaeda.
Our absence aside, it isn't terribly difficult to show the hypocrisy of many of the leaders present in Paris yesterday. A mere march was largely symbolic and the real-life conduct of many of the leaders who marched was quite egregious and noteworthy. Check out how many of these marching heads of state have violations against the free expression of journalists in their very own countries. Free speech, mon derrière!
The White House inferred that the security detail that was required for them to march with the other leaders was going to create a distraction that would have marred the demonstration of unity. Secretary of State Kerry will be visiting Paris later this week. Plus, to help combat future attacks, there will be a summit hosted by the Obama Administration in February to unite the world against terrorism, in any form.
In defense of the administration, speaking from India, Secretary of State Kerry defended his president,
“The U.S. has been deeply engaged with the people of France since this incident occurred,” and adding, “This is sort of quibbling a little bit in the sense that our assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was there and marched, our ambassador was there and marched, many people from the embassy were there and marched.”
What raised the red flag of outrage by Fox News? Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris, attending security meetings, as well as taping interviews for American news shows, excluding Fox News. He was not among the world leaders marching, so the outrage machine was at full-throttle.
Of course the semantics of calling the attacks an act of Islamic terror were paramount to these Muslim-o-phobes. The president doesn't feel that we should single out the second most popular religion which has roughly 1.7 billion members worldwide, so Kerry and Obama will continue to take the heat for not calling this attack what the ultra-right's Islamophobes demand. It's as if that's more important than our efforts to help the French and prevent abhorrent future tragedies. I don't recall Tim McVeigh's Oklahoma City bombing labeled an act of Christian terrorism, do you?
The Washington Times attacked the administration (shocking) and listed tweets from Todd Starnes, Marco Rubio and Fox News anchors:
“Embarrassing to the Americans! President Obama should not have snubbed Paris today,” Fox News host Greta Van Susteren tweeted.
This is insulting — quibbling? As though we are being petty? http://t.co/3U05smJeIy
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) January 12, 2015
But White House officials deny they’re disrespecting France.
“As far as public signs of French solidarity from the U.S., don’t forget several public statements from the president, his call to Hollande and a condolence stop to the French embassy,” an administration official told CNN.
No matter what President Obama does, the right wing will find some reason to criticize him. If he had gone to the march and the expenses required to maintain security were revealed, the right would complain about a frivolous trip. Perhaps he may have been too cozy with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, then his loyalty to Israel would be questioned. They will never be satisfied until one of their own incompetent minions-of-the-Kochocracy is appointed president by the Supreme Court.