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The Expendable Bin Laden

August 9th, 2012 - 10:55 am

As I’ve noted elsewhere (see here and here), the Washington Post‘s leftist columnist Dana Milbank covered my speech yesterday and writes a predictably disapproving take on it today. In it, toward the end, he mis-describes my exchange yesterday with his fellow lefty, Adam Serwer of Mother Jones.

Serwer evidently doesn’t understand the rudimentary difference between being an Islamist and being sympathetic to Islamists — or at least he pretends not to understand. So he thinks Obama’s support for same-sex marriage somehow destroys my argument that Obama is supporting the Brotherhood. This is a silly line of attack and I’ve addressed it a number of times, including in The Grand Jihad and at yesterday’s event (it’s in the Q&A section after my speech, over an hour into the event). Islamists and Leftists disagree on several points, but that does not prevent them from allying and collaborating, as they often do, on their many areas of mutual interest.

Following on Serwer, Milbank also distorts my prior assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood had concluded Osama bin Laden was “expendable.” Milbank writes:

Serwer also asked McCarthy about his 2010 suggestion that Obama was free to kill Osama bin Laden because “the Islamists [Obama] wants to engage have decided al-Qaeda is expendable” and counter to their peaceful takeover of American institutions. [Emphasis added.]

Contrary to Milbank’s suggestion, my statement about bin Laden being expendable had nothing to do with the killing of bin Laden, which happened a year later. When I made the statement in 2010, I was addressing the seeming contradiction between (a) Obama’s laudable aggressiveness in attacking al Qaeda safehavens in places like Pakistan and Yemen, and (b) Obama’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood. The point was about political calculations — I never remotely suggested that Obama needed or thought he needed the Muslim Brotherhood’s permission to do anything.

By the time Obama became president in 2009, bin Laden had exhausted whatever use he had to the Muslim Brotherhood. Brotherhood leaders were by then condemning the 9/11 attacks, but not because they condemn terrorism — which they usually applaud. Unlike jihadist attacks in other places, strikes against the American homeland are counterproductive from their perspective. They are making good progress on their agenda of mainstreaming sharia through non-violent stealth jihad; terror attacks against our country, however, are guaranteed to provoke an aggressive response — at least in the short term. That would have the effect of rolling back the Brotherhood’s gains.

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