Overseas Contingency Operations and Such

On the occasion of the outreach from Iran, and the embarrassment in Syria, it is wise to remember why and how our leaders became so inept at dealing with Islamists.

The Tsarnaev brothers killed and maimed in service to their version of Islam. So did Major Hasan, screaming Allahu Akbar as he shot his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. The Middle East is undergoing the greatest religious cleansing of Christians of the modern age. This month, eighty Christians were blown up in a church in Peshawar, Pakistan -- charged, tried, and executed in a nanosecond by Muslim suicide bombers.  At about the very same time, gunmen of the Islamist terrorist group Al Shabaab from Somalia murdered nearly 70 shoppers -- after torturing and mutilating many of their victims -- in a Nairobi shopping mall during a children’s event. None of these massacres had anything to do with the West Bank, Americans in Iraq, maltreatment of Muslims in the U.S., unkind immigration policies, undue attention shown Muslim travelers, or much of anything other than the usual grievances such as fighting back against terrorists.

Note that Europe and the U.S. are largely silent on the religious dimensions of this now almost daily violence. Apparently the EU and America believe that their own domestic security protocols have made it difficult for Islamists like the Tsarnaevs, Hasan, or bombers from Peshawar to harvest civilians with regularity in the West -- or at least that terrorists can be kept out of Chevy Chase, the Upper West Side, Martha’s Vineyard, and Santa Monica.

Here follow some random observations from Obama administration officials about Islam and its role in energizing terrorists. John Brennan, the present CIA chief and at one time the president’s chief counter-terrorism advisor, once advised us, “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community.” If Major Hasan or the Tsarnaevs do not believe in jihad or in an Islamist worldview, what, then, drove them to murder? Losing a boxing match, or perhaps a slow-moving pathway to lieutenant colonel?

Here was former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: “The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular.” Is “largely secular” different from “secular”? If Clapper is right, why would they not their change their name to the “Secular Brotherhood”?

“When I became the NASA administrator,” NASA Director Charles Bolden told Al-Jazeera in 2010, President Obama “charged me with three things.” Bolden added that “perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering." Apparently, if they can “feel good,” they won’t feel bad about us, at least to the point of blowing us up.