The chattering classes are disturbed that Trump questioned Obama’s loyalties in the fight against jihad, but does he have a point?
It’s instructive, but certainly not surprising, that in the wake of the deadliest terror attack on American soil since 9/11 President Obama’s reaction was to reach for gun control as a solution.
Put another way, in the face of evidence that the global, ISIS-inspired jihad has penetrated the federal government’s security apparatus and demonstrated the FBI, CIA, and local law enforcement cannot stop “known wolf” jihadists from committing mass murder in the name of Allah, this president’s reaction was to act to disarm the public to the threat.
That there will be no passage of new gun control legislation and the president is well aware of this fact didn’t appear to dissuade him at all. That similarly, to parrot previous babblings about gun control in the face of what clearly was a jihadist attack serves almost exclusively to divide the country at a time common sense and propriety demands it be brought together certainly didn’t faze him.
Following Obama’s reactions, the presumptive Republican nominee for president Donald Trump dropped a rhetorical bomb on the incumbent. Appearing via phone on Fox and Friends Monday morning, he said, “[Obama] doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other. And either one is unacceptable.”
Which is a pointed way of phrasing the question lots of people have been troubled by; namely, is the president’s complete failure to keep the country safe from jihadist terrorists and seeming uninterest in doing so rooted in incompetence — or something else?
We’ll leave aside the question whether it’s politically smart or befitting a presidential candidate to take so pronounced a swing, and stick to the obvious — Trump got under Obama’s skin. The president delivered a five-minute vituperative rant on live TV, accusing the Republican candidate of “yappin’” and said it was “dangerous” for Trump to exhibit “sloppiness” and “loose talk” such as his proposal to have a hiatus on Muslim entry into the United States and asking “Do Republican officials actually agree with this?”
Trump then tweeted a link to a Breitbart article which made the claim that Obama, and his first-term Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is the Donald’s opponent in November, had fueled the development of ISIS by setting up a training program for Syrian rebels opposed to its dictator Bashar Assad.
A CBS poll showed that by a two-to-one ratio (51-25), the public didn’t approve of Trump’s approach, but clearly Trump is the one driving the discussion and, to the extent any of this can be enjoyable, he’s the one having more fun with the narrative.
But the question is whether he’s right. And as much as others on the Republican side might have strokes about what he’s saying, or call it counterproductive to ask as to Obama’s loyalties, Trump will at least have little trouble finding ammunition for his arguments.
After all, why was a 25-year old Syrian immigrant who has said 9/11 changed the world for good recently appointed to Obama’s Homeland Security Advisory Council’s (HSAC) Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism?
That program, by the way, is fraught with a level of wrong-headedness it would be hard to imagine coming from a president not named Obama. Essentially, at its heart is the concept that enlisting Muslim sharia advocates on our side to do rhetorical battle with ISIS will keep us safe. Daniel Greenfield accurately characterizes this stupidity:
CVE tells us that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. We’re supposed to fight the ISIS Caliphate with supporters of another kind of Caliphate.
What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.
Essentially, as Greenfield notes, Obama has outsourced our Muslim outreach to CAIR and the Saudis. Is it so insane to wonder whether the leader of this administration is more than just a bumbling idiot?
Why has the Obama administration purged subject-matter experts like Phil Haney from government agencies tasked with counterterrorism for the sin of accurately describing the cultural and religious underpinnings of the jihadist movement and investigating potential jihadists accordingly?
The Iran deal?
The overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya after it had tried to align itself with the U.S. and cooperated with us on fighting Al Qaeda?
Backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? Particularly given the perceived level of influence one of its operatives had as Clinton’s right-hand woman in the State Department.
Refusing to aid Israel in its attempts to defend itself against jihadists?
Everything about Jeh Johnson?
We already know the results of this mishmash of counterintuitive policy ideas. America is less safe from jihadist terrorism now than it has ever been, America has fewer committed allies in the fight against jihad than ever, the American people have less confidence in the government’s ability to keep the peace (one of the most interesting outcomes of Orlando is the sudden uptick in firearms interest in the gay community), and the enemy is more emboldened than ever.
Whether politically it’s a good idea to bring all of this to a head or not, is it really so wrong to ask whether there is a method behind eight years of policy drift on so crucially important an issue?