Today’s beginning of the Republican convention follows a week that, in nearly perfect fashion, demonstrated how thoroughly America and its allies have refused to learn the lessons terrorists have taught us over the past fifteen years.
The reactions to the terrorist attacks in Nice, France and Obama’s response to the attempted coup in Turkey each illustrate that refusal to learn.
Mizz Clinton seemed to inch away from the Obama dogma that Islam and terrorism have nothing to do with each other. In response to questions from CNN’s Anderson Cooper the terrorist attack in Nice she said we are at war with “Radical jihadists who use Islam to recruit and radicalize others in order to pursue their evil agenda.”
She couldn’t bring herself to connect Islam and terrorism. Hours after the Nice attack, on Twitter, she stuck to the Obama line, saying “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
Reacting to the coup attempt against Turkish President Erdogan, a committed Islamist radical, Obama said all factions in Turkey should support Erdogan, despite his resolve to stamp out his nation’s secular democracy. Obama said not one word about that.
The FBI, meanwhile, proclaimed that there was no evidence that the Orlando nightclub massacre occurred at the “Focus” club because it was a favorite of homosexuals. This, of course, despite Islam’s prohibition of homosexuality, its prescription of the death penalty as a remedy, and the perpetrator’s proclamation of loyalty to ISIS and shouts of “Allahu Akbar” while he slaughtered his victims. The FBI has apparently, and dangerously, surrendered to political correctness.
Though America has prevented itself from learning since the Twin Towers fell on 9/11, at least we’ve not fallen as low as have the French.
After the Bastille Day attack in which eighty-four people were killed and hundreds wounded by an Islamist who used a heavy truck as his weapon, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “Times have changed and we should learn to live with terrorism. We have to show solidarity and collective calm. France has been hit in its soul on the 14 July, our national day.”
France’s soul was evidently so wounded that its national identity is once again defined in terms such as cowardice and appeasement.
In America, we are still comfortable with the state sponsors of terrorism we confuse ourselves into believing are allies.
As I wrote last month our government has been actively covering up the probable involvement of the Saudi government in the 9/11 attacks, its royal family and the Islamic charities that it runs and funds. The twenty-eight pages of the 9/11 Commission’s report that had been withheld from the public were finally released last week, albeit in substantially redacted form.
Even with the redactions, we see that it is highly likely that two men suspected of being Saudi intelligence agents — Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan — had extensive contacts with at least two of the 9/11 hijackers before the attacks. They may have provided them with money and housing.
Bayoumi was in frequent contact with the Saudi Defense Ministry. Much of the information about Bassnan was redacted from the released version of the report.
Two men known to be Saudi naval officers — Osama Nooh and Lafi al-Harbi — had extensive contacts with the hijackers before the attack. And, since 9/11, the Saudi government has refused to cooperate with the FBI and CIA to find out more about that group of four and anything else to do with the likely involvement of the Saudis with the attackers.
There is much, much more, in the newly released document pointing to Saudi-funded mosques in the U.S. as well as at least one “charity” run by a Saudi royal. And, despite the facts, the Saudi government is boasting that there’s nothing new in it to show Saudi involvement in the attacks.
These are some of the facts that should have taught us some fundamental lessons about Islamic terrorism. But under two presidents we have been taught to ignore the facts and the lessons.
The first lesson is that all the Islamic terrorists are united by the ideology of Islam. There is no such thing as a home-grown terrorist or a lone wolf. Each and every one is a fervent believer in the Islamist ideology.
The second lesson, as I’ve been writing since 2006, is that the heart of this war is ideological. President Bush refused to fight this part of the war. President Obama preemptively surrendered it. We cannot win the war unless and until we defeat this ideology in the same manner we defeated Nazism and Communism. To do so requires attacking their ideas — including the inevitable domination by Islam over all other religions — and doing so relentlessly.
The third lesson is that defeating the terrorists has nothing to do with gun control. When the terrorists use a pressure cooker bomb or an aircraft you can’t protect yourself with a gun. But when they attack a nightclub, a “draw Mohammed,” event or a military recruiter, gun control serves no purpose other than to make Americans more vulnerable by taking away the last resort of self-defense.
Part of debate is again focused on the intelligence community, as it should be. The CIA is being criticized for getting it wrong on Libya.
But the real question is not for the CIA, it’s for Obama and Hillary Clinton, who — according to the memoir of former defense secretary Bob Gates — was a principal advocate of the Libya intervention. Were they asking the right questions of the CIA? Were they probing and challenging the CIA analysts’ conclusions? If they were, they couldn’t have failed to understand that Qaddafi posed no threat.
On the other side of the pond, the Iraq Inquiry, run by Sir John Chilcot, has after about seven years, issued its final report. It condemns then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair for relying on the conclusions of British and American intelligence agencies to justify the Iraq invasion. This is nothing more than 20/20 hindsight. Some, like British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, want to see Blair tried as a war criminal. But for the fact that Chilcot’s remit didn’t include the Libya intervention, under Corbyn’s theory, David Cameron would also be in the dock.
This leads to the most important lesson we’ve refused to learn. For almost eight years we have been governed by a president who routinely skips his daily intelligence briefing. When Gen. Mike Flynn served as the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Obama never met with him.
The lesson is that we should go to war only when both our intelligence agencies and our political leaders determine that we face a threat to our national security that is so great that there is no longer a choice between diplomacy and war.
George W. Bush took us to war in Iraq because he believed, in good faith, that we had no choice, and he was wrong. Obama was just as wrong to take us to war in Libya when his secretary of defense, Gates, told him we had no national security interest in doing so.
Is it worse to go to war in those circumstances than it is to ignore existential threats in the manner Obama does?
It’s probably too much to expect that in their convention speeches Donald Trump or Mike Pence will answer that question. Perhaps, just perhaps, they will answer it in the campaign to come.
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