Wednesday, September 18th | 18 Elul 5779

January 15, 2016 11:04 am

America’s Sorry State

avatar by Ruthie Blum

A screenshot of a video released by Iran showing several Americans kneeling, with their hands clasped behind their heads. Photo: Screenshot.

The American sailors captured by Iran. Photo: Screenshot.

A few hours before US President Barack Obama delivered his last State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, American sailors were captured and detained at sea by the Iranian navy.

Literally forced to their knees, nine men and one woman were held until the following day, when Tehran decided to release them, after determining that their boats’ GPS had led them astray. Had the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy reached a different conclusion, the US “Marines,” as Iran referred to them, would have met a far more unpleasant fate.

While still under Islamic interrogation on the floor of an Iranian vessel, the 10 Americans were unable to listen to Obama’s speech to the nation from the podium of Congress.

This is just as well.

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The last thing you’d want in such a situation is to hear the commander-in-chief of your armed forces not even mention it when the topic of Iran came up. Indeed, not even refer to it at all.

What rang loud and clear to the rest of the world who actually watched the speech on television — particularly the ayatollahs — was the president’s utter capitulation to the literal and figurative hostage-takers in the Middle East.

It began with four rhetorical questions he raised about the future, the third of which was: “How do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?”

Since the second part of the query has been the foreign policy of his administration from the get-go, Obama should have learned by now that the first part is unachievable when one’s goal is to abdicate moral and military authority.

But since this president, who very shortly after taking the helm announced he would be “leading from behind,” has never genuinely put the security of America or the rest of the free world at the top of his agenda, the words caused him no pause when they appeared on his teleprompter.

No, for Obama, the temperature of the planet has been of greater concern than the climate of jihad that has led to storm after tsunami of death and destruction everywhere the eye can see. And since wreaths placed on sidewalk memorials for freshly slaughtered innocent people are bio-degradable, it’s all good.

So good, in fact, that this weekend the sanctions imposed on Iran’s nuclear program are about to be lifted, after the International Atomic Energy Agency gives the green light.

About this travesty Obama had only positive things to say. After paying lip service to the danger posed to civilians by “fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages,” who “do not threaten our national existence,” the president took credit for having “built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Yes, he said, “As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile and the world has avoided another war.”

The applause Obama barely received during his hour-long ramble was faint enough to enable the louder sound of guffawing from Tehran to drown it out.

Or maybe it was not laughter we were hearing, but rather the clicks of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s calculator counting the multi-billions of dollars he is about to receive in unlocked frozen accounts. You know, as soon as the IAEA reports that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear accord it supposedly signed in July with the P5+1.

Never mind that the Iranian military has been flexing its ballistic-missile muscles and threatening the US warships in the Strait of Hormuz, while still calling for “death to America, the Great Satan.”

No matter that Iran nabbed and grabbed American sailors, forcing the female among them to wear a hijab so as not to offend radical Muslim male sensibilities.

As the crew remained in custody while Obama patted himself on the back for the nuclear deal, the White House said, “We do not see this as hostile intent.”

Such is the state of the nation that Obama has helped its enemies demean — a country that should cause Third World despots to cower, not taunt, ridicule and threaten.

Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner ( This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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