Obama's policies on terrorism, ISIS and the Middle East are crippled by mushy thinking that flows from mushy language. He can't fight an enemy he refuses to define.
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 26, 2015 — Islamic analyst Raymond Ibrahim has some interesting and poignant perspectives on how the West—in particular the United States under President Obama—is dealing with ISIS and global terrorism. Ibrahim contends that Obama is the Western leader most responsible for empowering the terror organization.
Other observers have expressed concerns about America’s approach to terrorism over the past decade, but under the current administration, Western vulnerability is growing by the day.
According to Ibrahim, “knowledge of the end game has been available for anyone viewing the Obama administration with the eyes of a hedgehog, not a fox.”
Ibrahim reminds us that shortly after Obama took office, he said, “Words matter … because one of the ways we’re going to win this struggle (‘war on terror’) is through the battle of (Muslims’) hearts and minds.” That should have been an enormous red flag to journalists who spend their days parsing the words and gestures of political celebrities.
But the media didn’t notice.
Soon after, the administration announced, “training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for. They will not be tolerated.”
Perhaps that’s old news, but it has certainly been forgotten. Rather than educate ourselves about dealing with the enemy, we stuck our collective heads in the sand and denied its existence. It is a policy that continues today.
In a rare moment—or more precisely, six words—of agreement, Ibrahim sides with Obama on the importance of words and meaning: “Knowledge is inextricably linked to language.” But then he elaborates. “The more generic the language, the less precise the knowledge; conversely, the more precise the language, the more precise the knowledge. In the current conflict, to acquire accurate knowledge, which is essential to victory, we need to begin with accurate language. In short, it means America’s leadership needs to take that ancient dictum—‘Know thy enemy’—seriously.”
The Obama philosophy of dealing with Islam is counterproductive by design. An excellent example is the hollow euphoria that followed the killing of Osama bin Laden. Taking bin Laden out was a good thing, but it was not the significant victory it was portrayed to be. It was emotionally and politically satisfying, but the effort did nothing to stop or curtail terrorism anywhere; bin Laden was no longer an important piece on the board, but only a symbolic one.
Obama’s glitzy rhetoric, as in this case, leaves huge gaps in his efforts to deal with virtually any crisis that lands on his desk.
Page 182 of The Al Qaeda Reader explains it all. “Jihad in the path of Allah is greater than any individual or organization. It is a struggle between Truth and Falsehood, until Allah Almighty inherits the earth and those who live in it. Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden—may Allah protect them from all evil—are merely two soldiers of Islam in the journey of jihad, while the struggle between Truth (Islam) and Falsehood (non-Islam) transcends.”
Osama bin Laden was merely a conduit. His death simply raised the prominence of the new leadership that followed in his path. If the Prophet Muhammad returned today only to be assassinated in the process, it would not change the ultimate goals of Islam. The movement is far greater than any individual, and yet the West and its media cannot seem to grasp that concept.
Thanks to an American president who willingly empowers Islamic forces such as ISIS through his personal advocacy of Islam, the world has become a far more dangerous place. Argue if you must about George Bush’s war in Iraq, but, given Obama’s reluctance to lead against the global menace of terrorism, the world situation would be little different today than it would have been had Bush never sent troops to the Middle East.
And that will be the Obama legacy.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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