When America Is Weak, Its Enemies Attack

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Obama3On September 12, 2012, Obama stepped out into the Rose Garden and told the millions of Americans watching at home, “We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

More than half a year has passed since then and justice is nowhere in sight. The perpetrators of the attack openly walk the streets of Benghazi long after the FBI team sent there has gone home.

It may well be a coincidence that the first major successful terrorist attack comes as the administration plots a withdrawal from its second lost war. The Boston marathon massacre may have succeeded by a simple roll of the dice. Or it may have inaugurated a new series of terrorist attacks on the homefront.

For over a decade, Islamic terrorists who wanted to kill Americans headed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Obama’s grand security plan was to replace boots on the ground with drones carrying out pinprick strikes and then flying away again. It was a comfortable technocratic vision but it doesn’t account for what happens to all those fighters on the ground with no one left to fight and no reason to stick around except to act as drone targets.

Some have headed for Syria and others for North Africa. But the big question is how long will it be until they make another serious pass at the United States? Or have they made it already?

In Libya, Obama tried to avoid casualties by bombing from the air under the guise of a No Fly Zone. But once Gaddafi was dead and the zone was down, nothing protected the Americans in Benghazi. Obama had used the United Nations to sanction regime change, but without its sanction or the sanction of the Arab League, he refused to use air power to scare away the Salafist militias besieging the trapped Americans.

The new soft power strategy was big picture. It had nothing to offer the Americans fighting and dying while waiting for help to arrive.

Al Qaeda understood soft power as a weakness. Unlike the decrepit Clinton policy wonks, it was not impressed by the old strategy of refusing to engage while hiding behind the drones that were standing in for Bill Clinton’s favorite terrorist-fighting cruise missiles. It understood that limited engagement was not some bright and new philosophy, but an unwillingness to take casualties and inflict collateral damage.

“We will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” Obama announced in the Rose Garden and the terrorists laughed. They laughed because they had support from within the Libyan government. They laughed because the Libyan government had obstructed the arrival of rescue teams and denied the use of armed drones over Libyan airspace.

What sounded like a reasonable statement to an American audience was actually an admission that Obama would not act unilaterally to go after the killers. There would be no Abbottabad style raids. There was no reason to worry that they would wake up to find the Navy SEALS coming down on them.

Obama had been unwilling to flout the authority of the Libyan government to rescue the Americans in Benghazi. He was certainly not going to do it to find their killers.

The Jihadists had carefully assessed Obama’s weaknesses while searching for loopholes to exploit. In Afghanistan, the Taliban had outplayed him by refusing to negotiate. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood had outplayed him by claiming the mandate of the people. Iran had outplayed him by prolonging meaningless negotiations. Al Qaeda had outplayed him by using that same reliance on the meaningless formalities of international law.

Before the Boston bombing, Guantanamo Bay was in a virtual state of revolt with prisoners refusing to move to individual cells and covering up security cameras and windows to take control of sections of the prison. While some imprisoned terrorists staged hunger strikes, others wielded broomsticks and batons in clashes with guards.

In Guantanamo Bay, in Benghazi and Afghanistan and Mali and a hundred other places, the Jihadists were testing the nerve of their infidel opponents and probing for weaknesses. Weak opponents can be hemmed in by their own laws and hamstrung by their need to cling to the moral high ground. The greatest weapon of the terrorists is their ability to exploit our rules, leaving us unable to act.

As the surviving Boston bomber lies in his hospital bed, Republican senators and congressmen are calling on the administration to treat him as an enemy combatant. But the same administration that refused to violate Libyan airspace to rescue its own people is showing no signs that it is willing to push the envelope in Boston and transfer Dzhokhar Tsarnaev into military custody.

When Obama spoke in the Rose Garden on September 12, all he had to offer were worthless words spewed from a teleprompter. On April 15, he delivered much the same speech, with entire sentences seemingly lifted from the original. Once again there were vows of justice, tributes to the American spirit and all the other formalities of an administration covering up its failures with heaps of words.

The media cheers every one of Obama’s utterances, as do the Jihadists, but where the media sees strength, they see weakness.

The Taliban won in Afghanistan. The Muslim Brotherhood won in Egypt. Al Qaeda won in Benghazi. And they don’t intend to rest on their laurels. Whether or not the surviving Boston bomber was one of theirs, the old war that was put on hold when American troops went to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan is about to go hot again as Al Qaeda franchises gain the spare resources and breathing room to develop and deploy the next generation of terrorist plots.

The United States is the only country in the world that rewards the weakness of its opponents. The opponents we face today lack any such chivalrous notions. They have exploited the weakness of our leaders in Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya. And they intend to exploit that weakness on American soil.

After September 11, President George W. Bush made it clear that the United States would do whatever it took to protect the homeland. This administration has sent the opposite message over and over again. The Clinton Administration’s ineptitude in dealing with the World Trade Center bombing and the African embassy bombings invited September 11. The Obama Administration’s ineptitude in Benghazi may have invited the marathon massacre of April 15.

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  • Michael Copeland

    The young United States, no longer protected by the British Navy, had its ships attacked and looted by the North African Barbary corsairs – muslims obeying Mohammed’s instructions to attack and loot non-muslims in Jihad, and take them into slavery. In exchange for protection money, jizya, the attacks were withheld.

    The annual cost of this jizya strained the national tax revenue. Eventually Thomas Jefferson, informing himself about Islam and Jihad, instituted active defence. The Marine Corps was founded. Pirate ships were captured or destroyed: the mainland was invaded, Tripoli captured, captives released, and compensation insisted on. The attacks ceased.

    That strategy worked. Where is its modern equivalent?

    • Cassandra

      Not many American know about this and Obama, speaking about this story at an Iftar dinner at the white house distorted the truth. he even said that jefferso strte the first Iftar dinner at the whit house. This story needs to be told in the newspapers and on TV. But it won't and we know why. Obama is a communist and a Muslim and a traitor to this once great country.

    • Drakken

      The muslims will push us to it sooner or later. When we bring back the total war concept, they will be running for their lives instead of waging jihad.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    IF not for Obama Inc. jihadists would understand that America means business. However, under their revolutionary reign the opposite is the case.

    And while decades of "moral relativism" has been in the background, its tentacles have flourished under Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Therefore, Boston jihad was a foregone conclusion. Others will follow in its wake – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/04/23/the-incalcula

    Adina kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • kafir4life

    President Stinky (BO) Benghazi is garbage.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Snow-job and his seven Dwarfs (mix and match his crew), can you guess who Biden is?
      William

  • pierce

    My perception is under this President America is weak, and is losing its purpose. He seems to be leading us down a path of no return, like a ship floundering at sea.

    • kasandra

      Well, didn't he tell us he wanted to fundamentally transform the U.S.? To me, that means from strong to weak, from wealthy to poor(er), from achievement oriented to result oriented, from majority white to majority minority, from work oriented to dependence oriented etc., etc. etc. And the American people, in their infinite wisdom, voted him into office and recently re-elected him. America is weak and losing its purpose because a majority of its people are weak and have lost their purpose.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Kind of like a pied piper in a crowd with childish brains…………………….William

  • vladtepes2

    There was a time when the term "security risk" meant something having, as it had, catastrophic consequences for our country. But, alas, now the term rings no bells at all. So in this day and age when no one has a pre-internet memory span, I guess it's too much to ask that we learn from history and stop courting a re-play.

    • Drakken

      They won't learn until it lands on their very doorsteps, until then the wishful kumbaya singing continues.

  • Texas Patriot

    Sending larger land armies to Afghanistan and Iraq won't prevent the "lone wolf" Muslim from carrying out his or her personal jihad. The only thing that will prevent that is a better idea of where all this is coming from. As the Tsarnaev case illustrates, America's enemies are not limited to Al Qaida and the Taliban. Our enemy is an totalitarian and warlike ideology that calls upon its adherents to attack non-Muslims from anywhere. As some have speculated, it is possible that Tamerlan Tsarnaev began his journey into radical Islam while in Dagestan last year. Others have suggested that his radicalization could have occurred anywhere, even online.
    http://world.time.com/2013/04/22/tsarnaev-in-dage

    "On his YouTube channel, which he opened about a month after returning to Boston from a six-month visit to Dagestan last year, Tsarnaev shared the propaganda videos of several radical Islamists, including an insurgent leader who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Dudzhan and hails from the town of Kizilyurt in central Dagestan. “It is just as likely that he was converted [to radical Islam] online as on Kotrova Street,” says the source in Makhachkala. "

    What does this mean for America and the West? It means that the next attack could come from anywhere.

    • ziontruth

      The response was botched right after 9/11, by applying the Pearl Harbor model to the terrorist attacks, thereby leading to the waste of men, money and materials abroad; all had failed to recognize that the Islamic imperialist threat is not primarily a conventional military one, but a settler-colonial, invader-immigrant type of encroachment.

      The will to counter that kind of threat, by means of mass deportation, is altogether lacking in our politically correct times. Outside of the independent outlets of blogs and talk radio, you can't utter a peep in that direction without being brought up on charges of "hate speech" (while a Sirota can malign each and every non-Muslim white American without giving it a moment's thought).

      • Texas Patriot

        I think you're right. So far we're fighting WWIII like it was WWII, and we're losing.

        • Drakken

          We are not even close to the war footing we should be on right now, events will sooner or later make it enevitable.

  • Texas Patriot

    America's vulnerability derives from our failure to understand the nature of the threat against us, and Obama's failure in that regard has been no less abysmal than any of our other presidents since the attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Will Obama "wake up" like Thomas Jefferson woke up when he realized that American shipping was being attacked in the name of Islam? We shall see.

    • vladtepes2

      Obama suffers from no "failure to understand", he understands Perfectly.
      This is all part of his pathological plan to cut America down to size, based on his bitterness and the monumental chip on his shoulder that he bears towards white American.

      • Texas Patriot

        Obama has said that "America will never be at war with Islam". What Obama fails to understand is that there has never been a time when Islam has not been at war with America. By the same token, no American president since Thomas Jefferson has understood that either.

        • Michael Copeland

          Obama, as VladTepes points out, understands all too well. His declaration (itself questionable and even treasonous) that “America will never be at war with Islam” may simply be a coded announcement to Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood in particular, to “Come on in and help yourself.”

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            I really wish I could argue with that. But it's spot on.

            Every comment in this thread as the ring of truth, sadly.

      • fiddler

        I couldn't agree more.

    • charlotte

      No he won't because he refuses to admit the truth of Jihad-as any good little Muslim does:
      Questioner to Obama:"what is your opinion about Jihad?
      Obama: "the phrase jihad has a lot of meanings.."
      OH YES? President ASSWIPE

      JIHAD MEANS KILL THE JEW AND KILL THE INFIDEL
      NOTHING LESS.

  • tagalog

    Obama makes these grand statements about the Obama administration's resolution in the face of adversity, then goes back into the West Wing and has his implanted backbone surgically removed.

  • SHmuelHalevi

    Well… The enemy is Islam. Massage it in any way wanted. That is the bottom line. Anywhere, and I mean anywhere Islam lurks and grow, infidels will be murdered. Islam is the home of violent, aggressive, brutal people who kill each other or thers with total equanimity.
    The question is…. Are there leadership ranks willing to take on the enemy?
    The answer so far is obvious. No.
    The results will be just as obvious.

  • Looking4Sanity

    It is truly a sad state of affairs when the United States can legitimately consider the POTUS as a national security threat.

    • Texas Patriot

      The price tag of George W. Bush's delusional war in Iraq and Afghanistan was $4 trillion. Think that's not a security threat?

      • Looking4Sanity

        Do you have any thoughts on us NOT being attacked for 8 years under the Bush administration? I'd like to hear how you spin THAT into a national security failure.How many times have we been whacked under Obama in 4 years?

        • Texas Patriot

          We could have easily been attacked in the United States at any time during the last ten years. As Moamar Khadafy said during his visit in 2009, Al Qaida is already in America. But as long as America was doing the dirty work of Al Qaida in destroying the secular dictatorships of Saddam Hussein, Moamar Khadafy and Hosne Mubarak, there was no reason for Al Qaida to attack us.

          Otherwise, the strategy of Eastern forces since the days of Alexander the Great was to lure Western armies into the desert where they would be starved and bled to death. After 9/11, we took the bait and sent our armies into the desert, and the loss of American "blood and treasure" has been immense, and as the Arab Spring has shown so clearly, Al Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood has hardly had to lift a finger.

          Obama campaigned in 2008 on the idea that it was time for America to get "tough and smart" instead of being just "tough and stupid". IMO, his drone campaign against Al Qaida in Pakistan has been tough and smart. But his domestic economic and counterterrorism policies haven't been any smarter than those of George W. Bush, and to the extent that he may have caused our domestic counterterrorism surveillance policy to become more lax (and therefore overlook guys like Tamerlan Tsarnaev), they may have even been worse.

          • Looking4Sanity

            Shoulda, coulda, woulda…fail. MAJOR fail.You are no Texan, nor are you a patriot. You ARE a world class liar though…so there's that.

          • Texas Patriot

            The truth hurts, I know.

          • Looking4Sanity

            I'm sorry for your pain.

          • Texas Patriot

            Thanks. ;-)

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            I'm not. It was no accident we weren't attacked with mass casualty attacks under Bush. He worked tirelessly (even probably giving up some golf time) to deny al qaida a place of safe haven and funding.

            He worked against he NY TImes who exposed his tactics for tracing funding, remember that one?

            Obama undid that and gave al qaida libya with it's oil revenue. The death the bengazhi victims isn't the only blood on obama's hands in this.

          • pierce

            You are not, I repeat, you are not a Patriot, you are a cowardly dissident.

          • Texas Patriot

            Does this mean we're not friends anymore? If I thought your weren't my friend, I don't think I could bear it.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnwvZcb9EEM

          • Drakken

            The problem is very simple, we have lost our ability to take the war to our enemy, were too afraid of colateral damage and civilians casulties. The total war concept needs to be dusted off and used with a Atilla the Hun like zeal and then call it a day, until that time comes we are doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different resut. When they run out of bodies, they can't wage jihad against you.

    • JacksonPearson

      The closet Muslim pres has his vocabulary, and it ain't good for our side.

  • Winston

    Although I do not believe that America is weak… yes, weakened by this illegitimate president…, but not weak. What America has become is COMPLACENT. Those in leadership…if we have any in D.C… are more concerned about themselves, corrupted with power, than about the nation, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Rule of Law, and even national sovereignty. The biggest problem, if you haven't still noticed, is that like after the 9/11 disaster, the city of Boston and the nation's people (for the most part) got caught up in boldly saying that we stick together through thick and thin… but that's a lie from the pit of hell. We can't do anything of our own corrupted power. We must turn our hearts and minds towards GOD again and invite Him back into the heart of the nation…and personally.

  • mlcblog

    "Weak opponents can be hemmed in by their own laws and hamstrung by their need to cling to the moral high ground. The greatest weapon of the terrorists is their ability to exploit our rules, leaving us unable to act."

    Finally!! I see this insight in print. Thank you!!! So true. Someone is saying it clearly. Yay! True it is their very greatest weapon.

    • Drakken

      I always say that those who take the high moral ground in warfare are always buried in it. Until we start leveling cities and taking the fight to islam we are going to keep doing halfazzed nonsense that only emboldens islam to take the fight to us.

      • mlcblog

        I'm not interested in leveling cities as much as loving to see people's hearts and minds grasping what is true and not going along with evil nor allowing it, whatever has to be done. It is a fight on all fronts, certainly not just physical. Basically, it's one on one. Who do we agree with when we talk to people?

        • Drakken

          Islamaniac hearts and minds will follow when you have them by the balls and squeeze real hard.

          • mlcblog

            Closing doors and attention on them is also very effective. That is what I am talking about, though I know from my Arab friend that what you say is oh, so true. A good shunning can be helpful, total disbelief and opposition to their preposterous anti-American ideas can be heard — if expressed!

  • BLJ

    Obama is the muslim Manchurian Candidate.

  • tanstaafl

    The Obamahdi does the bidding of the ummah.

  • ziontruth

    "When America Is Weak, Its Enemies Attack"

    The title just reminded me of something… this isn't an attempt at joking so bear with me, there's a point here. "Gentlemen! Gentlemen! This is getting us nowhere. If we do nothing else this week, we must conceive at least one terrorist act that will show all the world that the United States, the great Satan, is but a paper tiger—a weak nation, a weak people, a people ripe for destruction. Cowards, no longer willing to fight!" Ayatollah Khomeini, at a conference with Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Arafat, Fidel Castro and Gorbachev, says this just before Frank Drebin puts a vessel of boiling water on his hand.

    That was in 1988. Back then, when Islamic imperialism was just beginning to get worldwide with the Rushdie fatwa, it was still possible to make fun of it all. But today the free world is divided between people who think the joke isn't a joke at all (those who know the truth), and those who think the joke should be banned on grounds of "insensitivity" (the Politically Correct / Multi-Culturalist enablers of Islamic imperialist aggression).

    Interesting times, as the Chinese say…

  • Jon

    The war on terror is over. Al Qaida is defeated. Bush created terrorism. Obama ended it with his election.
    Just keep repeating that like the braindead masses who voted for him last fall.

  • fiddler

    Key point: "The greatest weapon of the terrorists is their ability to exploit our rules, leaving us unable to act."

    • JacksonPearson

      "Key point: "The greatest weapon of the terrorists is their ability to exploit our rules, leaving us unable to act." "

      Passive political correctness is the main killer.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Then run those rules through Benghazi Obama and juala, watch yourself in the mirror
        slowly disappear, piece by piece………………………..William

  • marios

    I always was agree with Daniel Greenfield but not now. I don't believe that Obama just not competent, or just gullible, or make mistakes on this subject. I believe that he is proxy of MBrotherhood, that some reach Saudi official paid for his education. Sure, he is Muslim by not only sharia law. By sharia law: any child born from father Muslim is Muslim till end of his/her days if not converted to another religion. If converted he/she became apostate and must be killed. All Muslims in this country voted for BHO. Financial aid was sent even by "poor Palestinians" (I came across on Muslim's site where Palestinians bragged about it). All his action as US Pres. starting with Cairo speech where he said that US was the biggest Muslim country (!!!???) , that Muslims contributed a lot of for this country prosperity (!!!???) , etc. and his role and reaction to Benghazi 4 US citizens murder including ambassador (it is always consider as act of war but not by our Pres). MSM cover all facts of WH treason.

  • marios

    His domestic policy made us much weaker as well. We are in SUCH great debt and nobody knows who held our treasury Security as year or more ago China sold out much of it …to whom? Most like to Saudi Arabia as the most reach and as center of Islamic terrorism world wide plot to build Caliphate.
    And look how many Muslims immigrated to our country for last 5 years! Our country Islamization is obvious. The last one: why have almost 17 trillion debt we provide Egypt Muslim Brotherhood by multi Millions aid? Why we arm our enemy Saudi Arabia and other ME countries with a more advanced weapons? Question and doubts ….

  • Dennis Metz

    when will you people finally understand, obummer is one of them he pretends to be American and Christen but he would love to see his boyz like the panthers, wright and faraconvict kill off whites and their babies and JEWS. THE MORE muslims attack whtie america the more obummer wins

  • Obama Guy

    Dan Greenfield's weakness is America's disgrace. And the Boston bombers were white Dennis Metz..
    You are pathetic.

    • mlcblog

      blick

    • aspacia

      Zero Guy,

      You have not refuted one of Greenfield's claims, NOT ONE! You are using a the fallacious ad hominem attack. You are the pathetic, illogical, overemotional one on this link. Slither back under your slimy rock Gollum.

  • vladtepes2

    If two boys with a pressure cooker could do this to Boston,
    just think what Iran could do with a multi-megaton nuclear weapon, or an EMP attack.
    There would be not three dead as in Boston but the death of ninety percent of the American population and the end of our country.

    It's time to put a stop to Islamic terror.

    The American retaliation for Boston should be to end the Iranian nuclear threat and announce that within twenty four hours all of Iran's nuclear weapons facilities will be totally and completely obliterated.
    Then the Islamic world should be put on notice that any further acts of terror will be met with Iran times ten.

  • Western Canadian

    The jihad terrorist bombers were 'white' the same way that a hispanic attacked by a black thug was white: Not genetically, not in appearance, but politically. Your politically correct racism is showing.

  • Texas Patriot

    The zeal for destroying America's enemies professed by the neoconservatives on this board is to be commended. If only they had a clue about how do fight a "stealth jihad" that is based on an idea that has no physical location but rather can be adopted by any Muslim anywhere, at any time. Unfortunately, after forty or more years of futility, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives wasted, it is perfectly clear that they don't. It's time to wake up and realize this is WWIII, and the war strategies and tactics of the past just won't work. Can an idea be outlawed? If it purports to authorize the killing of innocent women and children in the name of God, yes I think it can, and that is the key to winning this war going forward. Nothing else really has a chance.

  • Mr. Polly

    Greenfield: "After September 11, President George W. Bush made it clear that the United States would do whatever it took to protect the homeland."

    After September11! Too bad President George W. Bush refused to get off his lazy ass to do a damn thing to protect the homeland BEFORE September 11.

    • aspacia

      Yes, WBYA dropped the ball, but so did Clinton considering the numerous attacks on our interests and military prior to 9/11.

  • Mr. Polly

    "When America is Weak, Its Enemies Attack"

    Yes, that's why they attacked on September 11.

    • aspacia

      Polly, what about 1993? The USS Cole, and numerous other attacks occurring prior to 9/11. Reagan, walked away from the Beirut massacre of our marines in the 80's, because his focus was destroying the Soviet empire which has shoved 50 million + in the hole; it was a question of priorities.

  • Blaine Cooper

    America's weakness is Obama.