When Barack Obama finally showed up to his press conference yesterday after keeping everyone waiting for seventy-four minutes, the President took the time to express his frustration with the war in Gaza. “It is important to remember,” Obama explained helpfully, “that Hamas acts extraordinarily irresponsibly when it is deliberately siting rocket launchers in population centers.”
“Irresponsibly”? It depends on what one expects from Hamas, I suppose. If one considers Hamas a run-of-the-mill political force in an armed conflict, then sure, conducting attacks from residential neighborhoods and hotels is extraordinarily irresponsible. If on the other hand Hamas is a terrorist organization, as the State Department itself defines the group, then it’s not ‘irresponsible’ but part of their strategy.
Charles Krauthammer and Ron Fournier could not believe their ears:
Krauthammer described Obama’s comments as “lethargic and disinterested and detached.” And as for that “irresponsible” line, Krauthammer said, “It’s a bloody war crime! I mean, there’s no passion, there’s no interest, there’s nothing behind it.”
Fournier, meanwhile, added, “Frat boys are extraordinarily irresponsible. Hamas is a terrorist organization that’s killing people. Words matter then you’re trying to lead a country… I’m stunned by how poorly he uses them.”
Yes … one might even say that Obama has been extraordinarily irresponsible in his rhetoric on the subject. What he’s doing is drawing an equivalence between Hamas and Israel that doesn’t exist, which is also what Israel accused Kerry of doing during his attempt to put together a cease fire. Hamas uses civilians as shields to conduct terrorist attacks on Israel, while Israel did its best to avoid civilian casualties while trying to put an end to the rocket fire aimed at their civilians by Hamas. There is a difference — a huge difference — between the two, and that difference not only matters, it’s the heart of the conflict.
Most of Obama’s pressers are an exercise in extraordinary irresponsibility anyway, but this takes the cake.