Indeed, rather than a movement and ideology like Communism and fascism, Obama sounds like a comic book superhero describing life in Gotham City:
Neither I, nor any President, can promise the total defeat of terror. We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings, nor stamp out every danger to our open society.
Yet his advisor on this issue, CIA director John Brennan has said that the United States cannot be at war with terror because terror is merely a tactic. So what is the problem: “the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings,” as if the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas are equivalent to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting?
What we can do – what we must do – is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend.
In other words, it is not a strategic problem but a law enforcement one.
And at another point he added,
Deranged or alienated individuals…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.
Appears? So Fort Hood and the Boston bombing are still not considered by the American president as part of a war against America but perhaps due to that evil that lies in the hearts of men?
And what is the nature of that criminal conspiracy?
Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11. Instead, what we’ve seen is the emergence of various al Qaeda affiliates. From Yemen to Iraq, from Somalia to North Africa, the threat today is more diffuse, with Al Qaeda’s affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP –the most active in plotting against our homeland.
One would never know, however, that al-Qaeda was always basically decentralized. Al-Qaeda in Arabic means “the base” and what Osama bin Ladin did was to create a focal point to start off a global jihad. Bin Ladin is dead but he accomplished his short-term objective. Moreover, al-Qaeda’s partner, the Taliban, is doing very well. Who cares whether they directed the attacks in Benghazi (apparently it wasn’t a video) and Boston? They inspired those attacks.
“Unrest in the Arab World has also allowed extremists to gain a foothold in countries like Libya and Syria,” says Obama, a man who clearly need not fear the mass media turning his phrase against him. After all, it wasn’t just unrest but Obama’s policy that armed al-Qaeda and helped it participate in a successful revolution. And the same point is true in Syria.
Indeed, if Bush was responsible for unintentionally magnifying the appeal of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Obama did the same thing in Syria, except Obama didn’t fight them but helped supply the weapons!
At least he called Hizballah a “state-sponsored” terror network though it might have been nice if he mentioned that the state in question is Iran, which also supported terrorists who killed Americans in Iraq. That is another point that Obama left out and yet could easily have mentioned.
And of course he mentioned Oklahoma City, which happened just 20 years ago, in order to suggest that right-wing extremists were also involved in terrorism, even when Fort Hood and Boston are due to some vague cause.
But here’s the kicker:
Moreover, we must recognize that these threats don’t arise in a vacuum. Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology – a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause. Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam; and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist acts.
Yet clearly Obama has no notion—or will not admit to one—of what that “common ideology” might be, except for a misunderstanding, which presumably his outreach will correct, about American intentions.
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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