He’s actually getting worse. This president will not admit that we are in a war, as President George W. Bush defined it, with various terrorist organizations and with countries that support them. In his overlong, rambling speech to the National Defense University on terrorism and national security, the president never even mentioned Iran, which happens to be our main enemy and the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism. Not one word.
You may well ask how it is possible for the president to talk about his counterterrorism “strategy” without addressing the main source of terrorism. You would be right to ask, and you should also ask how it is possible that, so far as I can see, not one of the pundits, experts and commentators noticed the omission. They were so busy with the future of Gitmo and where captured terrorists should be tried, and how many drones can fit on the head of a jihadi, that they missed the biggest thing.
Talk about a dog that didn’t bark!
The speech was bizarre, to put it mildly. It was often incoherent, as when he gritted his teeth and actually admitted that there is an ideological conflict between us and the terrorists. “Most…of the terrorism we face,” he said, “is fueled by a common ideology…that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West.” Without taking a deep breath, he hastily added that the “common ideology” was “based on a lie.” Why? Because “the United States is not at war with Islam…”
It’s typical of the president’s world-view that he would assume any such war to be instigated by us, but in this case the jihadis have it right, and he’s got it backwards. There is indeed a war, it is theirs, the jihadis’ war, and they are waging it because they firmly believe they are commanded to do so by the Almighty. They aim to destroy or dominate Western infidels and apostates. Those commands are in the Koran, and are repeated by a great mass of imams, ayatollahs and mullahs. Those thousands of Iranians or Hezbollahis who chant “death to America” mean just that. It’s the reason for their jihad against us.
But President Obama could not bring himself to mention that. Indeed, the one time he used the words “violent jihad” he wasn’t talking about the Quds Force, or Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad, or the other terrorist organizations. He was talking about–listen very carefully–“radicalized individuals here in the United States.” Yes, if we take the text seriously, he’s saying that violent jihad is a homegrown American thing.
I know it’s hard to believe, but here’s the full context:
…we face a real threat from radicalized individuals here in the United States. Whether it’s a shooter at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin; a plane flying into a building in Texas; or the extremists who killed 168 people at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City – America has confronted many forms of violent extremism in our time. Deranged or alienated individuals – often U.S. citizens or legal residents – can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon. (my emphasis)
Notice the sly use of “appears to have led” in the last sentence. And notice that he is only talking about “deranged or alienated” individuals. Lone wolves. Disturbed people. Not a mass movement that intends to destroy us.
It’s all backwards. After all, this president welcomes illegal immigrants to the White House, and shuns US border agents.
No surprise, then, that the main weapons to be used against terrorists are: close Gitmo, send captured terrorists to places like Yemen, kill a few more al Qaida types with drones, and, for heaven’s sake, keep giving foreign aid to countries that have gone over to the dark side.
I half expected him to call for an end to sanctions on Iran. Or at least to show some understanding for Ali Khamenei and his gang. But Obama didn’t have to do that. John Kerry had already begged Congress to withhold further action against the Islamic Republic until a new president had been chosen.
This sad sortie into the wonderland of our foreign policy goes hand in hand with the Cairo speech that hailed the accomplishments of the Muslim world and promised a new relationship with the United States. That hasn’t worked out very well, but the president won’t admit it. Just as his solution for runaway debt is more debt, his solution for the war against us–the one whose existence he denies–is to accept our culpability, and withdraw from the battlefield. He bragged about the retreat from Iraq–as that unhappy land is overrun with terrorists–and promises a speedy retreat from Afghanistan.
And then he invoked a “lesson” from history. “All wars end.” Someone should have leaped to her feet at that moment and quoted an ancient wise man, Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Not this guy. Obama is in full retreat, and will have more war. That’s the way it usually works.
Instead, a leader of Code Pink leaped to her feet and demanded the immediate closure of Gitmo. It was almost certainly a set-up, and nicely encapsulated the whole farce.