Shortly after the Orlando attack, which left 49 dead and 53 others wounded, I predicted on my Facebook page that “despite the fact that the shooter pledged his allegiance to ISIS before launching fire, the FBI will spend weeks searching in vain for a motive. Experts will hypothesize that the shooter was disaffected, bored, insane or unemployed. It will be anything except Islamic terrorism. The whole thing will be a big mystery.” I further added,
In no time at all, the President, the government agencies and the media will be lumping in 'homophobia' with “Islamophobia”, and “hate”, “extremism”, “terrorism” and “violence” like they are all the same thing. Shortly thereafter (or perhaps simultaneously) the emphasis will be the hate, not Islamist ideology, and because right wingers are so hateful, the focus will be on right wing extremists who “hate” and are “Islamophobic.” And of course, Trump will be thrown in there somewhere.
It didn’t take long to prove my prediction true.
During his speech following the Orlando jihadist attack, President Obama intimated that Islamophobic speech used by Donald Trump and other Republicans is the cause of terrorist attacks. Pointing his finger at “politicians who tweet” and are “loose and sloppy” with their language, the president asserted that “this kind of mindset is dangerous. Look where it gets us.” Criticizing those who criticize him for refusing to use the phrase “Radical Islam,” President Obama insisted that “there’s no magic to the phrase Radical Islam. It’s a political talking point. It’s not a strategy.” He went on to say that “arguing about labels has all just been partisan rhetoric in the fight against extremist groups.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton mirrored the President’s language almost verbatim, prompting a CNN reporter to ask Josh Ernest, White House spinmeister. whether the talking points were coordinated. Though he denied it, the similarity is hard to deny. Clinton proclaimed that Donald Trump thinks there are “magic words, once uttered [which] will stop terrorists from coming after us. Trump, as usual, is obsessed with name-calling….. It matters what we do more than what we say.”
ISIS is on the rise, Islamic terrorist groups have been gaining ground worldwide, Islamist ideology is spreading in the West, and ISIS-inspired attacks have arrived on the shores in the Free World, including America. Ignoring these facts, the president insisted that America is safer than it was eight years ago. Yet, just days later, CIA Director John Brennan testified to the contrary, asserting that America is facing the biggest threat to national security that we have seen in years.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spawned out of Hamas and the Islamic Association of Palestine, both state-designated terrorist groups, condemned the Orlando massacre as a “hate crime.” Nihad Awad, CAIR’s Executive Director, pronounced that we should not give in to “hate and fear.” He explained that “homophobia,” “transphobia” and “Islamophobia” are all “interconnected oppressive systems. You cannot dismantle one without dismantling the other.” I’m not sure what kind of Newspeak that is, but if it’s true, he should start by holding a gay pride parade in Tehran. He should then admonish Muslims in Saudi Arabia who might be afraid of the beheadings and amputations meted out by the government because such fear is quite “Islamophobic” and would only prove them to be racist bigots.
The upshot of the president’s protestations regarding language demonstrates that in the eight years of his administration, he has learned nothing about the role of the War of Ideas in the spread of Islamic terrorism. I suspect he doesn’t want to know.
The Enemy Threat Doctrine, articulated by the great Chinese Military General Sun Tzu, dictates that in order to win a war, you must know who your enemy is and identify him by name. Words do matter. It’s not because language in and of itself has some “magic,” but because words have meaning. Using the proper words gives one a proper understanding of the problem. Using the wrong words gives one a misunderstanding of the problem -- or indicates its denial.
A problem does not disappear by mere refusal to acknowledge it. The importance of accurate identification of the motive of the attack is imperative if we want to produce an effective strategy. To make a medical analogy, two people can have the same symptoms but different underlying diseases. An accurate diagnosis of the root cause of the symptoms is imperative for proper treatment. The same is true in national security.
Labeling the Orlando attack as “a hate crime” caused by “guns” naturally leads to a solution of “dignity for gays” and gun control legislation. But it will do nothing to stop the spread of jihadist ideology which motivates those intent on committing more jihadi attacks. This administration has worked hard to fit terror attacks into a crime model, rather than viewing them as acts of war. In so doing, the government acts as a prosecutor working to clean up the mess after the fact, rather than gathering intelligence, applying proper analysis, and where appropriate, using surveillance to prevent future attacks.
There is every indication that the Orlando attack could have been prevented. The assailant was brought to the FBI’s attention no less than three times. He boasted to co-workers about having friends in Al-Qaeda. He had interactions with a suicide bomber. He attended a mosque that was considered, for lack of a better term, “radical.” Yet, the government did not see any of this as cause to continue keeping an eye on him. It appears that to America’s national security agencies, jihadist ideology is nothing more than another point of view that constitutes “religious freedom” and is not cause for concern.
In fact, a mere two days prior to the Orlando terror attack, the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Committee issued a report telling its national security professionals not to use words like “jihad,” “ummah,” “sharia” or other “religiously charged” terms. In other words, when exploring the motivation of terrorist attacks, our government has taken off the table the possibility that religion might be the motivating factor --- even though, time after time, the jihadists themselves have told us it is.
Additionally, the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, purportedly erected to counter terrorist and “extremist” narratives, has instead been refusing to call Islamic terrorism what it is. Obama and many on the Left insist that we should not identify Islamic terrorism by its name “because that’s what ISIL wants.” Going even further, proper identification of the enemy has been condemned by leftist politicians as “Islamophobic,” “racist” and “bigoted.” Indeed, Democrats recently went as far as to propose a bill to condemn such “anti-Muslim rhetoric” whether or not it’s true.
This purging of accurate terminology is a tactic encouraged by all Muslim Brotherhood front groups, including CAIR, in part to fog the war and disarm the West in the War of Ideas. If we cannot name the enemy, we cannot identify him, we cannot know what his goals are, and ultimately, we cannot defeat him.
Yes, Mr. President, the language is important. “Islamic terrorist” is clear and accurate, not sloppy and bigoted. It’s the use of vague words like “extremism” and “racist” (applied to a religion rather than a race) that constitutes the real partisan rhetoric and endangers the public. This lack of clarity --- factually, strategically, and morally -- is, in part, responsible for the policies that gave rise to ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups.
While Obama tries to blame Trump’s language for creating Islamic terrorism, Trump’s policies are not in place. Trump is not in power. It is President Obama’s policies that are being implemented. It is the president’s language preferences that are disseminated to national security agencies. It is the president’s position of “leading from behind” abroad, his pre-mature withdrawal from Iraq, his refusal to support the freedom fighters in Iran, his gutting of the U.S. military and reduction of CIA agents, that has led to the consequences we are now experiencing.
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has been very clear that if he succeeds President Obama, his policies will be the exact opposite of Obama’s. Trump’s view of America’s role in the world stands in stark contrast to Obama’s. He says he will do all he can to make America strong and keep her free. We can be sure this won’t be accomplished by continuing Obama’s failed policies of appeasement. The increased instability around the globe, and especially in the Middle East, no doubt largely rests on Obama’s shoulders.
Obama cannot hide his failed national security policies by denying religiously-motivated attacks at home using false and misleading language. He promised to transform America and, indeed, he has. The chickens have come home to roost and it cannot possibly be Trump’s fault. The spread of Islamist ideology and the increase in Islamic terror attacks will not be solved by deflecting to topics of gun violence, workplace dissatisfaction, family problems, or the myriad of other excuses that Obama has pointed to after recent terror attacks. Scapegoating Trump is not a sound national security policy. Obama has only himself to blame for America’s national security failures.