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JERUSALEM – The 9-11 attacks were carried out because of a lack of “empathy” for others’ suffering on the part of al-Qaida, whose terrorist ideology “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair,” Sen. Barack Obama explained in largely unreported comments eight days after the mega-terror attacks that rocked the nation.
Obama went on to imply the September 11th attacks were in part a result of U.S. policy, lecturing the American military to minimize civilian casualties in the Middle East and urging action opposing “bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle-Eastern descent.”
“Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families, I must also hope that we, as a nation, draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy,” Obama wrote in a piece about 9-11 published on Sept. 19, 2001, in Chicago’s Hyde Park Herald.
The senator continued: “Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must re-examine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks and we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction,” wrote Obama.
“We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity or suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, it may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics.
“Most often, though, it grows out a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.
“We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle-Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe – children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.”
Obama’s piece gained little notice outside the Hyde Park Herald, which covered Obama’s district as a Chicago state senator. The Hyde Park area is heavily influenced by the Nation of Islam.
Obama’s remarks gained more traction on Internet blogs the past few days after the statements were republished last week by the New Yorker magazine in a piece that caused a campaign storm when the magazine printed a cover image depicting Obama in Muslim garb and wife Michelle sporting an afro and carrying a machine gun in the Oval Office. A picture of Osama bin Laden hangs over the fire place in which an American flag is being burned.
The New Yorker explained its image was meant to be a satirical depiction of the distorted way some Americans view Obama.
Regarding Obama’s remark that al-Qaida is unable to imagine the suffering of others, Michelle Malkin responded in a National Review Online piece, “Is this man for real? Osama bin Laden’s murderous legions are plenty able to ‘imagine’ the ‘suffering of others.’ Go watch an al-Qaeda beheading snuff video. Just Google it or surf YouTube. Imagining the suffering of infidels is covered amply in basic Jihadi Training 101.”
Robert Spencer, director of the Jihad Watch website, noted, “Barack Obama, back in late September 2001, completely ignored Islam itself. He found the roots for Muslim terrorism not in Islam but in ‘a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.’
“What Obama could not, and apparently cannot, allow himself to do is to investigate the nature of Islam, to find out what it teaches about Believers and Infidels. I can help out a bit. I can tell him, right now, right here, that Islam is based on a clear division of the universe between Believers and Infidels.”
In an opinion piece in Commentary Magazine, writer Abe Greenwald, responding to Obama’s belief terrorists act out of despair, commented, “‘[P]overty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.’ Strange, considering our attackers were wealthy and educated, connected and ecstatic. You know, if Obama is going to keep ex-terrorists around, he should at least utilize them. He could have asked Bill Ayers, ‘Bill, did your ‘failure of empathy’ stem from your impoverished upbringing as the son of the CEO of Commonwealth Edison?”
Indeed Obama’s notion terrorists act out of desperation and poor living conditions was directly contradicted in a WND interview last year with a recruited Palestinian suicide bomber.
The recruited bomber said he is driven to carry out a suicide operation to “satisfy Allah and his instructions. No money interests, nothing. No brainwash, no pressure; it is my decision.”
“[My idea of suicide martyrdom] became stronger when I understood what status I will have in heaven if I scarify myself for Allah.”
Asked about media reports portraying Palestinian suicide attackers as acting in response to occupation or poor living conditions, the recruited bomber called those media claims “lies” and “Israeli propaganda.”
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.