In Obama's Audacity of Hope, he insinuated that he would stand with Muslim Americans should the political winds shift in any ugly direction." He also asserted in Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars, "We can absorb [another] terrorist attack." These are two straightforward statements that raise the question of whether a man who has been seemingly obsessed with reaching out to "the Muslim world" since taking office is capable of fulfilling his duty as commander-in-chief to keep America safe and secure.
The negative implications of Obama's time in office will be felt for decades, but one thing is clear. The U.S. President who does not recognize America's exceptionalism and who has promised to stand with Muslims has been unable to keep Americans safe from Islamic terror -- both at home and abroad. Asserting that "The Obama Years are Synonymous with Terrorism," a recent IBD editorial chronicled the terrorist attacks, both failed and successful, during Obama's term. From Little Rock and Ft. Hood to Benghazi and Boston, terrorism directed at Americans is far from waning despite Obama's never-ending claims of al-Qaeda's decimation. And unless Obama's policies of appeasement, political correctness, government dependency, leading from behind, and willful ignorance regarding the Islamic threat to the West will lead to further terrorism.
Obama did not create the Islamist ideology that has fed the fervor of modern-day terrorism. But from his Cairo speech through his speech Monday night just after the Boston bombings, in which he refused to call the attacks terrorism (he conceded the point the following day), he has made it clear that he does not believe that terrorism is a continuing threat to the lives and safety of Americans. His refusal to use the terms "War on Terror" and "Islamic fundamentalism" are just examples of a belief either that he can wish away evil or that evil simply does not exist. But what the country needs is a president who understands Islamic jihad for what it is -- the totalitarian, fundamentalist dogma that drives the violence perpetrated by those who have waged holy war on the West. And Obama has yet to give us any indication that he understands these very real threats, or that he is interested in, and capable of, protecting us from them.
Based on the fact that, in response to information provided by a foreign government (presumably Russia), the FBI questioned one of the Boston terrorists two years ago and a 2009 domestic violence arrest that should have led to his deportation but did not, Tuesday morning quarterbacks are focusing on Obama's questionable immigration policies, including administrative amnesty that "apparently directs ICE to wait until an illegal alien commits a serious crime or two before considering deportation."i And while most people think of Hispanics crossing our southern border illegally, few realize that Hezb'allah has operatives working throughout Latin America. Unfortunately, securing our borders for national security purposes is taking a back-seat to Obama's politicking and demonization of the GOP as anti-immigrant.
Alas, would that it were simply Obama's indifference to our immigration problem that led to the successful terrorist attack last week. Unfortunately, Obama seems driven by a desire to befriend Muslims and demonize those who recognize that, while not all Muslims are terrorists, most terrorists are Muslimsii and that radical Islam is a clear, present, and dangerous threat. Martha Raddatz observed, "The president has been so worried about offending non-jihadist Muslims that he's tried to take the ideology out of our enemy, which is nuts considering our enemy is the violent ideology."
The administration's assertions that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate epitomize the administration's cluelessness. Notwithstanding the MB doctrine -- "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." -- the administration's assertions of secularism and moderation rather than Islamism and sharia domination are indicative of willful ignorance on the part of those formulating foreign policy. As Barry Rubin stated:
[T]he ability to critique precisely what is radical in Islam and what is wrong with Islamism is handicapped by the successful effort to brand any attempts at making such distinctions as "Islamophobia" instead of a sensible fear of revolutionary Islamism[.]But is it really ignorance, or is there a dangerous ideology that drives Obama policy in this regard? In an in-depth essay on the MB's penetration of the government," Clare Lopez observed:
Under the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced Obama administration, U.S. policy has undergone such a drastic shift in the direction of outright support for these jihadist movements -- from al-Qa'eda militias in Libya, to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both al-Qa'eda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebels in Syria -- that it is scarcely recognizable as American any more.This mentality likely led to Obama's Justice Department dropping the charges against unindicted co-conspirators CAIR, ISNA, and other Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations in the Holy Land Foundation terror-funding trial. It also helped bring the MB to power in Egypt as Obama threw Mubarak under the proverbial bus despite a decades-long history of a peaceful alliance among Egypt, America, and Israel. And with numerous MB operatives working with or in the administration, it is no wonder that an Egyptian cleric recently stated, "Trust me, very soon we will see the flag of 'There is no god but Allah' flying over the White House. They are already holding [Muslim] prayers in the White House."
This worldview coupled with the need to ensure some elitists' perceived politically correct discourse is leading to troubling policy decisions. Succumbing to pressure by MB-affiliated organizations, the FBI was forced to rewrite counter-terrorism training manuals instructing agents on the religion of Islam. Allen West responded to the fiasco, stating, "We have to understand when tolerance becomes a one-way street, it will lead to cultural suicide[.] ... [W]e should not allow the Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups to be influencing our national security strategy."
One has to wonder whether this played a role in the FBI's failure to discover the Boston terrorists and stop them before they killed. Rep. Pete King stated on Fox News Sunday:
[T]his is the latest in a series of cases like this. Anwar Awlaki, Major Hasan, Carlos Bledsoe, Robert Headley [sic], and now, this case with the older brother, where the FBI is given information about someone as being potential terrorists, they look at them, and then they don't take action. And they go out and carry out murders after this. So, again, I'm wondering, again, is there something deficient here? What was wrong?Whether due to efforts to be politically correct or efforts to hide reality from the public, Obama's refusal to call terrorism what it is is distressing -- and dangerous. Major Hasan's terrorist attack at Ft. Hood is labeled "workplace violence" despite clear evidence (including screams of "Allahu Akbar") to the contrary. And a filmmaker accused by the administration of producing a video that led to the Benghazi attacks remains in jail while our new secretary of state echoes Hillary "what difference does it make" Clinton and pronounces, "We got a lot more important things to move on to[.]" This willful ignorance will lead Kerry, along with Obama's other similarly incompetent appointees, to serve as indirect and unintentional co-conspirators in future terrorist attacks on Americans.
The administration's refusal to discuss what motivated last week's terrorist attack (recall that David Axelrod surmised that Obama was thinking that it was due to "Tax Day") is leading to left-wing apologists and our enemies blaming America. Until Obama admits that Islamism is a failed ideology and proudly asserts the wisdom of Americanism, how can we expect to end the growing appeal of violence among the Islamic faithful?
In a speech after the Boston attack, Obama referred to himself as "Reverend Obama." If only he would take on that role in the context of preaching to the Muslim world what a privilege it is to live in our great country. But it is this refusal to recognize the evils of Islamic fundamentalism that have neutered the administration's ability to confront the problem. And while the administration declares that the War on Terror is over and Janet Napolitano declares that the Boston attacks were not part of a "broader plot," the terrorists' War on America and its values rages on (a recent story explains that the only reason the terrorists did not kill the carjacking victim was because he was not an American). Andrew McCarthy explained:
Islamic supremacism is a mainstream Islamic ideology - held by tens of millions of Muslims, not just a few thousand al Qaeda members and collaborators. Thus, if the administration were to admit that this ideology and agenda catalyze terrorism, they would logically have to admit the problem is much bigger than al Qaeda.And Stephen Hayes observed:
... This leads the administration to the absurd conclusions that...a mass-murder attack committed by Muslims, no matter how obviously it is terrorism, should not be acknowledged as terrorism unless it has been committed by either a member of al Qaeda or a group that can be portrayed as "inspired" by al Qaeda (meaning, inspired by "violent extremism," not by Islam).
This is not, of course, the first time we've seen an apparent eagerness from the Obama administration to minimize or dismiss the possibility of broader ties to international terrorism after attacks or attempted attacks on U.S. interests. Three days after the attempted bombing of an airplane on Christmas Day 2009, President Obama suggested that the attempted attack was the work of "an isolated extremist." He made the claim despite the fact that the bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told interrogators in interviews shortly after his capture that he'd worked with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Five months later, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the attempted bombing of Times Square by Faisal Shahzad a "one off" attack. Other administration officials downplayed the likelihood of ties to foreign jihadists.In the coming days and weeks, we will learn more about the influences that led to the radicalization of the Boston terrorists. What we do know is that the imam from the mosque that the terrorists attended is affiliated with a MB front-group and that he sermonized about violence. And while the NYPD was vilified for recognizing that there is an incitement problem in America's mosques, the federal government should mirror those anti-terror surveillance programs but likely will not.iii
Exacerbating the problem is Obama's domestic spending sickness that is leaving our military capability in shambles and our homeland security seriously wanting. In an article discussing the military's "State of Unreadiness" in the context of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Col J.E. Dyer observed:
Even during the penurious Carter years, things weren't this bad. It really isn't possible to overstate the seriousness of it...While many may argue that the cuts to the military budget are due to partisan congressional dysfunction, it is important to note that the sequester was the brilliant idea of our current commander-in-chief. Furthermore, it was recently reported that the administration cut the budget for domestic bomb prevention by 45%. This is the portion of the DHS budget that is allocated to prevent the exact type of terrorist attack that occurred in Boston last week. And over the past several years, programs that provided millions to schools for training, security, police, and mass tragedies were terminated.
Burned readiness for the Air Force and Navy -- the services that would execute a strike on the Iranian nuclear program -- means forces that can't be called on when they are needed. Think of "burning readiness" as driving until your gas is gone without a means of refilling the tank. That's what America is doing right now with our armed forces.
Obama entered office promising to close Gitmo, treating the war on terror as an everyday criminal matter (despite the urging of lawmakers, the administration will not designate the Boston terrorist as an enemy combatantiv), and outlawing enhanced interrogation that leads to life-saving intelligence. While Obama is largely praised for drone attacks that have killed al-Qaeda terrorists, the inevitable result is a dearth of leads that could prevent future attacks. The premature pullout from Iraq and Afghanistan and resulting void in American influence and strength are resulting in newly emboldened Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Islamic jihadists across the entire region. Leading from behind has resulted in the weaponization of Islamists. And the administration has granted Global Entry Status to Saudi Arabian citizens (before those from Great Britain, France, and Israel) and now permits knives, baseball bats, and other potential weapons on airplanes.
Many analysts are now questioning whether the atrocity that befell the citizens of Boston will become the "new normal." It is clear that future attacks are inevitable as long as our government and the president in particular do not call a spade a spade and begin to take all necessary measures to protect American citizens from the evil deeds of Islamists.
Now is not a time to "stand with Muslims." It is a time to call for Muslims to leave behind centuries of violence and join the civilized race of the 21st century. And if they do not, they should know that we will fight the War on Terror until the evil is destroyed.
How Many Americans Has Obama Killed?
By Daniel Greenfield
Three days after the tenth anniversary of September 11, left-wing activist Spencer Ackerman struck a blow for Muslim terrorism by denouncing FBI training materials as Islamophobic.
The training materials dealt with such topics as the doctrinal basis for Jihad and the origins of terrorism in Islamic law. The story spread into the mainstream media, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, whose leaders had endorsed terrorist groups and helped raise money for terrorists, began pressuring the FBI to recant the threat of Islamic terrorism.
In February of 2012, Amine El Khalifi was arrested for plotting to carry out a suicide bombing in the US Capitol building. Before he began his mission, he visited the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, whose former Imam was Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al Awlaki and whose parishioners included Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan. At his sentencing, El Khalifi said, “I just want to say that I love Allah.”
But that did not stop the FBI from announcing a few days later that it had completed purging references to Islamic terrorism from its training materials. A month earlier, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had begun his trip to Russia and by the time he returned, the training materials meant to prepare agents for the reality of the terrorist plot that he and his brother would carry out had been buried out of sight.
Where El Khalifi had failed in Washington, the Tsarnaev brothers would succeed in Boston.
The counterterrorism information purge had been completed by the time the lead Boston bomber returned to America, but it had begun earlier under Obama.
The 9/11 Commission Report had freely used terms like “Jihad,” “Takfir” and “Islam” to define the nature and motivations of the enemy. But the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy did not mention them. Neither did the FBI counterterrorism lexicon. They had been replaced by “violent extremism.”
Violent extremism is generic. Predicting an attack requires specifics. Investigators cannot stop undefined crimes or arrest undefined suspects. The less information they have to work with, the more likely the terrorists are to succeed.
Islam is the crucial link between disparate terrorist groups from Dagestan to Thailand, from Mali to Afghanistan, from Israel to Nigeria and from the United States to Chechnya. Without the Islam factor, there was no reason to suspect that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a threat to anyone except the Russians.
The old FBI training materials had explained what Chechen, Pakistani, Egyptian and Nigerian terrorists had in common. In the new ones there was a great empty space in which facts died and lives were lost.
In 2011, the year that the Russians were warning America about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole was issuing another kind of warning.
Cole, an Obama recess appointment, said, “All of us must reject any suggestion that every Muslim is a terrorist or that every terrorist is a Muslim. As we have seen time and again – from the Oklahoma City bombing to the recent attacks in Oslo, Norway – no religion or ethnicity has a monopoly on terror.”
While Islam might not have an absolute monopoly on terrorism, it had cornered the market. If terrorism were a search engine, Islam would be Google. If terrorism were an operating system, Islam would be Microsoft. If terrorism were a mail delivery service, Islam would be the United States Post Office.
While a new generation of law enforcement officers was being indoctrinated in terrorism denial and taught to watch out for Christian, Jewish and Buddhist terrorists, the real terrorists were hard at work.
On the tenth anniversary of September 11, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev murdered three Jewish men. The authorities wrote it off as a drug murder, even though all the drugs had been left behind.
In December of that year, the White House oversaw the release of Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States. Written by an apologist for Islamic terrorism who described Salafism as a primarily non-violent movement, the report staked everything on outreach to local mosques and institutions.
The new CVE counterterrorism strategy, the non-battlefield version of the disastrous COIN program being run in Afghanistan, pinned counterterrorism strategy on working with “local partners” to counter “violent extremism.” The report never mentioned the word “Jihad” and emphasized that violent extremism could come from anywhere.
CVE outsourced counterterrorism to Islamic mosques and organizations, despite their history of links to terrorism. With CVE, the United States no longer had a counterterrorism strategy; it had a Muslim Hearts and Minds strategy.
The day after the Benghazi attack, a CVE conference was held featuring discussions on how to make moderate Muslim videos go viral. Other efforts included world tours for moderate Muslim rappers. Hundreds of millions of dollars were being spent on various outreach gimmicks overseen by law enforcement officers wasting their time while terror plots were being hatched in their own backyards.
A Rand report praised the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization for bringing together Muslims, Christians and Jews and having local mosques host sessions on the dangers of the Internet. GBIO included the Islamic Society of Boston, whose mosque Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended. The Islamic Society of Boston’s extensive terrorist links had been overlooked in the eagerness to find moderate Muslim partners.
The Boston Marathon attack changed nothing at all. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was given a Miranda reading, like the Christmas Day bomber and the Times Square bomber before him. Obama had attempted to give 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a civilian trial and plotted to give Osama bin Laden a civilian trial if he could be captured alive. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s atrocities certainly did not force him out of the civilian justice system and into the custody of military interrogators who might have gleaned everything about the terrorist plot and the terrorist plots to come.
The Mirandizing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was the final step in a counterterrorism policy of calculated ignorance and appeasement. At each step, law enforcement was pressured into trading awareness and investigation for outreach and sensitivity.
The new strategy said that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism was by not offending Muslims, but the Hearts and Minds campaign failed in Afghanistan and it failed in Boston. Pretending Islamic terrorism did not exist, did not make Muslims more willing to turn over terrorists. Instead it made law enforcement less aware of Muslim terrorist threats and cost the lives and limbs of Americans.
Terrorism cannot be fought in the dark. Each step that Obama took to blind law enforcement to the Muslim threat and to give terrorists every possible privilege has been paid for with American blood.
By Melanie Phillips
Fort Hood, Benghazi, the Boston bombings, Iran/Syria, Israel. The pattern is unmistakeable; the danger to America is exponentially increasing; the scandal is deepening into something nearer to a national crisis.
The Obama administration is playing down the Islamist threat to the US and the free world, empowering Islamists at home and abroad, endangering America and betraying its allies -- and covering up its egregious failure to protect the homeland as a result of all the above, while instead blaming America for its own victimisation.
What is coming out in the Benghazi hearings would be jaw-dropping if it had not been apparent from the get-go that the administration failed to protect its own people in the beseiged American mission where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff were murdered in 2012, then lied about the fact that this was an Islamist attack, and then covered up both its failure and its lie. (Apparent, that is, to some -- but not to the American media, most of which gave the Obama administration a free pass on the scandal in order to ensure the smooth re-election of The One).
But the administration has form on this -- serious, continuing form. After the Fort Hood massacre in 2009, in which an Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas shouting ‘Allahu akhbar’, not only was it revealed that his radicalisation and extremist links had been ignored but the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies classified the shootings merely as an act of ‘workplace violence’.
Weeks after the Boston marathon terrorist atrocity, there is still no explanation of why the FBI did not act against the Tsarnaev brothers, despite having had one of them on their books as a dangerous Islamic radical after a warning from Russian intelligence; and why, as the House Homeland Security Committee heard yesterday, the FBI didn’t pass on their suspicions about the brothers to the Boston police.
Even now, the US authorities are playing down or even dismissing Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s extremist Islamic views. Whether or not the brothers had links to foreign extremists is still unclear. But what is bizarre is the authorities’ belief that if they did not have any such links, they cannot have had any religious motive.
Despite evidence such as Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s outbursts at a Boston mosque, where he denounced clerics' references to Thanksgiving and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as ‘contrary to Islam’, the brothers were described by Philip Mudd, the former Deputy Director of National Security at the FBI and the former Deputy Director of the Counterterrorist Centre for the CIA, as merely ‘angry kids’. Mudd told Charlie Rose:
‘They may be disenfranchised. They may have had a bad experience at school. They may not have friends, and they say, “Look, we want to do something.” This tactic of terrorism is a tactic of the 21st century. I don’t necessarily think these are real jihadi terrorists. I think they’re angry kids.’
You really do have to pinch yourself. How in heaven’s name can a guy like Mudd, with his background in so-called intelligence, possibly come up with anything quite so stupendously shallow? It is precisely such angry, isolated, disturbed kids who are vulnerable to Islamist preachers who target, groom and manipulate them -- whether in person or through the internet -- to believe that ‘Islam is the answer’ and that they are its soldiers engaged in holy war against the unbelievers.
The wilful and perverse refusal to acknowledge the religious nature of this holy war -- and worse, to lay the blame for such terrorism on the the society that is its victim -- is what lies behind the Benghazi scandal.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings this week produced testimony from Gregory Hicks, the former deputy to the murdered Ambassador Stevens, that was simply devastating for the Obama administration and its former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton -- who infamously erupted, under questioning last January about the nature of the attack,
‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’
Well, Mr Hicks has started to provide the answer. Despite repeated calls for more security to combat the clear threat of jihadi attack on the US mission, Mrs Clinton’s State Department had farmed out its security to none other than a jihadist group. When the fatal attack started, Mr Hicks vainly appealed for fighter jets to buzz the besieged compound. As the Times reported:
‘When a team of four special forces troops were about to leave Tripoli, at Mr Hicks's request, their leader had to stand them down because he was not cleared by senior military chiefs to travel. Mr Hicks said the furious officer told him: “This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has shown more balls than someone in the military.”’
Disingenuously, the Pentagon says in response that no forces could have arrived in time to mount a rescue. But there was more lethal testimony from Mr Hicks.
After the attack, the Obama administration claimed that it had resulted from a protest that had got out of hand over an anti-islam YouTube video. But Mr Hicks testified that it was known from the start that it was a jihadi attack which had nothing to do with that video. The Wall Street Journal reported:
‘Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Tripoli, recalled his last conversation with Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who told him, "Greg, we're under attack." Mr. Hicks said he knew then that Islamists were behind the assault. In other words, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's public claim at the time that an anti-Islam YouTube video spurred the assault was known inside the government to be false when she and White House spokesman Jay Carney said it.
Mr Hicks further claims that he was instructed by officials not to talk to congressional investigators, and then demoted after he asked why senior Clinton aides had blamed the attack on a video protest. Again, officials have denied his claim of demotion. But the cat is now out of the bag. The Times reports that an e-mail has surfaced revealing that senior State Department figures — including Ms Clinton — knew within 24 hours that the group responsible for the Benghazi attack was linked to Islamic terrorists.
‘Mr. Hicks said he briefed Mrs. Clinton that night, yet the father of victim Tyrone Woods says she later told him that the YouTube video maker would be “prosecuted and arrested” as if he were responsible for Benghazi. Stranger still, Mr. Hicks says Mrs. Clinton's then chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, ordered him not to give solo interviews about the attack to a visiting Congressional delegation.’
Meanwhile, from the beginning of this affair there have also been persistent questions about quite what the US mission was actually doing in Benghazi. Now the Washington Times has reported this:
‘A U.S. intelligence official tells Inside the Ring that the hearing and congressional inquiries have failed to delve into what the official said is another major scandal: CIA covert arms shipments to Syrian rebels through Benghazi.
‘Separately, a second intelligence source said CIA operations in Libya were based on a presidential finding signed in March 2011 outlining covert support to the Libyans. This source said there were signs that some of the arms used in the Benghazi attack — assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades — ended up in the hands of the terrorists who carried out the Benghazi attack as a result of the CIA operation in Libya.
‘The unanswered questions — that appear unasked by most congressional investigators — include whether the CIA facility in Benghazi near the diplomatic compound and the contingent of agency officers working there played a role in the covert transfer through Turkey of captured Libyan weapons or personnel to rebels fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
‘“There was a ship that transported something to Turkey around the time Ambassador Chris Stevens met with a Turkish diplomat within hours of his murder,” the official said. “Was the president's overt or covert policy to arm Syrian rebels?”’Was it indeed. If it was, then Benghazi might turn out to be yet another and particularly terrible example of the damage Obama has wrought upon the security of America and the free world.
This is a President who, by persisting with the charade of negotiation with Iran over its race to manufacture its nuclear bomb, has allowed it to become the dominant power in the region.
That is why Iran’s puppet Assad, who has just accrued hundreds of Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists to help him win his bloody civil war, has been able to slaughter more than 80,000 Syrians and use chemical weapons against them -- while Obama himself may have ineptly armed al Qaeda inside Syria. For the Washington Times report goes on:
‘The official said congressional investigators need to ask whether the president indirectly or directly helped bolster al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Jabhat al-Nusrah front rebel group in Syria and whether the CIA ran guns and other weapons captured in Libya to the organization.
‘“Every troubling Middle East-Southwest Asia country — Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and now maybe Syria — where the Obama administration made a significant policy push has gone over to Islamists that are now much more hostile to the United States,” the official said.’Precisely.
The Benghazi attack was not just appalling in itself; nor was there merely almost certainly a catastrophic failure by the Obama administration to protect its people, and then a mighty cover-up of that failure. Benghazi also serves as a symbol of America’s tragic abandonment, under the Obama administration, of its historic mission to protect life and liberty both in its own homeland and in the free world.
Welcome to Obamastan.
Obama’s Betrayal of Islamic Democracy
The mishandling of Benghazi undermined a prominent Muslim moderate
By Andrew C. McCarthy
A significant point made in riveting testimony by Gregory Hicks, the State Department’s former deputy chief of mission in Libya, has largely been missed in the coverage of Wednesday’s Benghazi hearing. It is worth highlighting, not least because doing so illuminates the depth of the Obama administration’s depravity.
In its assiduous effort to defraud the American people, for 2012-campaign purposes, into believing that the Benghazi massacre was provoked by an anti-Islamic Internet video — rather than having been a coordinated jihadist attack that undermined President Obama’s claim to have decimated al-Qaeda — the administration betrayed its self-proclaimed commitment to establishing democracy in Islamic countries.
It has been widely reported that, during the hearing, Mr. Hicks was asked to respond to the infamously cynical, transparently rehearsed rant — “What difference, at this point, does it make?” — by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her long-delayed congressional testimony about Benghazi back in January. Hicks first observed that the real question was, “What difference did it make?” (his emphasis), then proceeded to explain that the difference was enormous . . . and enormously damaging. The reason has to do with Mohammed Magariaf, the president of Libya’s new, post-Qaddafi General National Congress.
In a pleasant surprise during the dark days after the Benghazi massacre, President Magariaf forcefully condemned the attack as the work of Islamic terrorists. For career State Department officials such as him, Hicks elaborated, this was a major coup. Now, to say Hicks was a compelling witness is an understatement. On this point, though, he did not flesh out what he meant. That is why it has not gotten the attention it deserves.
As readers who follow our discussions here know, I am not a fan of Islamic-democracy promotion — at least, not the way our government has done it for the last 20 years, which is more a matter of forcing “democracy” to accommodate anti-democratic sharia law than of instilling the principles of Western liberty. For present purposes, however, the point is not to rehash this debate.
Like most of our best foreign-service officers, Gregory Hicks is a true believer in helping Islamic countries achieve what he called their “dream of democracy.” This was a goal the Bush and Clinton administration set themselves to. It is, moreover, what the Obama administration claims is its top imperative in the Middle East — the reason why Obama has insisted, for example, on starting an unprovoked war to topple Qaddafi, on giving billions in aid and sophisticated weaponry to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government, and on supporting the “rebels” in Syria despite their ties to the Brotherhood and al-Qaeda.
What officials like Hicks realize but have difficulty explaining — for to explain it is to admit the gargantuan uncertainty of the task — is that democratization calls for authentic Muslim moderates to separate themselves from violent jihadists (and, I would add, from sharia chauvinists posing as moderates). If they are unwilling or unable to do so, there can be no real democracy. There can be only the law of the jihadist jungle or, at best, a milder sharia totalitarianism that, though we may refer to it as “democracy,” is not democracy in any real sense.
As we have seen time and again, however, this is a very hard thing for moderates to do. Again, my point here is not to repeat what I’ve said a million times about how foolish we are not to study Islamic-supremacist ideology. But the unyielding fact is that this ideology is prevalent throughout the Middle East — it is not just the stuff of fringe terrorists. And it teaches that those who sow discord in the ummah — by, for example, condemning fellow Muslims or endorsing Western standards over sharia subjugation — should be ostracized or even killed.
It takes a great deal of bravery for a Muslim to make a stand against this. He is sure to be vilified as an apostate for doing so. Sharia’s penalty for apostasy is death, and the so-called Muslim Street is well known to take such matters into its own hands. This is why President Magariaf’s acknowledgment that the atrocity in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and his forceful condemnation of the jihadists who carried it out, was such a coup in the eyes of Hicks.
Libya is a plenary Islamic country. Magariaf is a Sunni Muslim from Benghazi — albeit one who lived for decades in the U.S. He was among Qaddafi’s most prominent enemies, and is reputed to be a liberal in the classic sense, supporting free elections and free speech, as well as equality among citizens and between the sexes. Not surprisingly, he has been the target of multiple assassination attempts, the most recent one in January. He is, in sum, exactly the kind of ally the democracy project desperately needs if it is to have any chance of success.
Magariaf’s condemnation of the Benghazi terrorist attack was an announcement to the world that there are prominent Muslims willing to run the risk of taking on the jihadists — the very thing we justifiably complain that we don’t hear nearly enough of from self-professed moderates. It was also an announcement that there are Muslims prepared to stand publicly and strongly with the United States, even if that means influential sharia jurists will condemn them for breaking ranks.
None of this was lost on the White House. Yet President Obama dispatched Susan Rice to the Sunday talk shows anyway — her talking points oozing with deceit, as Steve Hayes’s devastating report in The Weekly Standard has demonstrated. Rice directly contradicted Magariaf, maintaining that the attack on our compound resulted from a spontaneous “protest” provoked by a hateful video defaming Islam’s prophet. This disgusting performance — mounting evidence proves she knew what she said was false — badly undermined Magariaf’s credibility. Worse, it implied that the jihadists who murdered our officials were justified in their rage, if not in their savage actions — i.e., that sharia blasphemy principles trump the free speech that any real democracy must have as its foundation.
That, Hicks said, is why his jaw dropped when he heard Rice’s assertions, which, he further recalled, left him personally “stunned” and “embarrassed” for our country. He was embarrassed because the cause for which he has spent much of his career struggling — the cause for which American blood and treasure have been copiously sacrificed for a dozen years — had been cravenly sold out.
For what it’s worth, I’ve long thought the democratization cause is neither plausible nor a vital American interest. Unlike Hicks, I do not believe that the State Department should have been in Benghazi at all — we should never have diplomatic posts in places where we cannot responsibly safeguard them. But my pessimism about the prospects of the mission is a matter separate from the great respect I have — that we all should have — for the courage and dedication of Americans officials, such as Hicks, who have labored to give Muslims overseas a chance for freedom in the sincere belief that doing so promotes our national security.
That is what Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the rest of the cabal betrayed. And for no better reason than that telling the truth about Benghazi would have wounded Obama’s campaign less than two months before Election Day. Bluntly, a jihadist attack in the heart of the “rebel” resistance to Qaddafi made it embarrassingly clear that Obama had not crushed al-Qaeda. It showed that the president’s Libya misadventure had empowered America’s enemies. This the reelection effort could not afford, so the administration used the video — and familiar demagoguery about dread “Islamophobia” — to cover it up.
For many years, the Islamic-democracy project has been a passion of both Bush Republicans and Clinton Democrats. If I were one of them, I’d be pretty damn angry right now.