April 15, 2010
The Systematic Dismantling of a Secure AmericaBy Janet Levy
The emotionally charged toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square on April 9, 2003 was an ephemeral moment of unity for Americans applauding the defeat of a tyrannical regime and an enemy of the free world. The rapid victory over Saddam by U.S. forces reinforced, for Americans and the world, America's military supremacy as a force for good against evil. At that time, our nation appeared to uphold Woodrow Wilson's pre-World War I proclamation to "make the world safe for democracy."
Fast-forward to April 6, 2010, when Barack Obama informed the world that the United States would no longer function as a global superpower buttressed by nuclear weapons as a deterrence to war. With one unanticipated public statement from the putative leader of the free world, the security held by the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction vanished from the American arsenal, and confidence in America's ability to defend its citizens vaporized. Obama's proclamation of unilateral nuclear disarmament nullified America's willingness and ability to defend itself and its allies at a critical juncture in history when worldwide nuclear proliferation abounds.
Americans are fully aware of the peril inherent in Obama's commitment "to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." With nuclear-armed rogue nations like North Korea starving and enslaving their own populations and Muslim countries encouraging and celebrating the martyrdom of their children, the implementation of a non-preemptive, nuclear-disarmed American security policy is pure folly.
While Obama's latest statement is certainly responsible for making the United States less secure, American security has been in jeopardy since before the 9/11 attacks. For quite some time, our nation's leaders have failed to properly identify the enemy and declined to prosecute acts of treason, meanwhile appeasing the enemy with special privileges and dispensations. Obama's recent actions have further jeopardized our security by his granting of constitutional rights to enemy combatants, imposing restrictive battlefield standards, placing budgetary restrictions on our military, and reaching out to America's enemies while abandoning its long-term allies.
The first step in any national security strategy is to clearly identify the enemy, study its ideology and tactics, and develop an appropriate strategy to target and destroy it. Basic military policy and common sense dictate that victory can be achieved only by first knowing your enemy. During World War II, the nation knew we were fighting Nazis and made no distinction between radical Nazis and moderate Nazis. Our responsibility was to kill the enemy, protect the country, and emerge victorious, not to ferret out any "good" Nazis or abide by stringent demands to protect the civilians of an enemy nation.
Today, Americans are not told that we are waging war against Islamic jihadists who want to destroy us, establish an Islamic government, and replace our Constitution with shari'ah law. Instead, we are told that we are fighting a war against "terrorism." Rather than focus on an enemy with a specific identity or characteristics, we are waging war against a strategy. The media reinforces this delusion with nebulous terminology that confuses and distracts us from a very real threat.
Actions taken by our leaders reinforce the delusion. Six days after 9/11, President George W. Bush spoke to a Muslim audience in Washington, D.C. about the "hijacking of a great religion" by "terrorists." He didn't connect for the public the ideology with the actions -- jihadists being the most devout followers of Allah's word, or Islam. Bush actually referred to "Islamofascism" once in his second term but confused the message by later appeasing Muslims with statements proclaiming that terrorist acts don't represent Islam.
"I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace," he affirmed in 2007. The statement signaled that six years after 9/11, government officials were still not intimately familiar with the Koran and unaware that over 63% of the Muslim holy book comprises hate speech toward non-Muslims. The Bush administration failed to educate the public about the enemy's ideology.
When Obama took office, his administration further obscured the problem and intensified the confusion about the enemy. No longer was the United States fighting a "Global War on Terror," but the very word "terrorism" was replaced with the absurd term "man-caused disaster." Words such as "jihad," "caliphate," "mujahedeen," and "Islamist" were banished from the official vernacular. Last week, the Obama administration announced that words such as "Islamic extremism" would be removed from the U.S. national security strategy documentation in consideration of the feelings of Muslim nations. This latest policy represents a dramatic shift from the Bush Doctrine, which referred to the "struggle against militant Islamic radicalism" as the greatest threat of the century.
During World War II, Americans faced up to threats against this country with certainty. They knew that treason was a disloyal act toward one's government that sabotaged national security. Those who jeopardized the security of the country by aiding and abetting or consorting with the enemy were prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Today, acts of treason are tolerated and viewed in the context of political protest. In 2002, Hollywood actor Sean Penn visited U.S. enemy and al-Qaeda supporter Saddam Hussein. Penn later met with other vocal, anti-American leaders, traveling to Iran to interview Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro, and to Venezuela to confer with President Hugo Chávez. Penn even called for prison terms for those who criticize the Venezuelan dictator.
During the 2003 U.S.-led coalition forces invasion of Iraq, Americans served as human shields to prevent U.S. military action. Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union photographed CIA interrogators and placed them and their families in grave danger by showing the photos to senior al-Qaeda terrorists at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Lawyers on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's staff who previously defended GITMO detainees are now, incredibly, prosecuting detainees with no ethical alarms raised about potential conflict of interests. All these actions that place American security in jeopardy and sabotage our ability to defend American interests are viewed with insouciance rather than grave concern.
It would have been inconceivable during World War II to have invited Hitler or Mussolini to visit the United States. However, during the Bush presidency, Iranian leader Ahmadinejad, sworn enemy of the U.S. who has publicly called for "death to America," was permitted to speak at Columbia University and be a guest on a prime-time TV talk show. Such misguided actions continue in the Obama administration. This week, Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic supremacist organization, will be on a four-city speaking tour with the permission of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ramadan, who was prohibited from entering the country during the Bush administration, lionizes his grandfather, Hassan al-Banna; works for the Islamic Republic of Iran by hosting a weekly television show; and has donated to terrorist causes, including Hamas. This significant and perilous change in American policy signals that we are facilitating the stealth attempt to Islamicize and dominate our nation.
Following 9/11, several Muslim organizations, some linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, complained about being targeted by counter-terrorism efforts, charged that they were victims of "Islamophobia," and asserted that the War on Terror is really a "War against Islam." Imams at prominent mosques and leaders from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) -- an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial over illegal funding of at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas -- actively worked to repeal the Patriot Act and urged Muslims to refrain from cooperating with FBI investigations. In fact, Muslim cooperation with law enforcement was termed nonexistent by a ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Peter King, who noted that he knew of no investigations in which Muslims had been helpful.
The head of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Salam Al-Marayati, told a conference of Muslims in 2005 that Muslim-Americans should be defining counter-terrorism policy in the U.S. He also urged Muslims to reject any effort to spy on each other, implying that the first allegiance of Muslims is to the Muslim community, not law enforcement. The response of law enforcement and government agencies to charges of anti-Muslim bias has been not to infiltrate the Muslim community with undercover operations and demand cooperation, but to increase Muslim recruitment for counterterrorist investigations, to institute Muslim sensitivity programs, and to establish community partnerships with Muslim community leaders.
A case in point is that immediately after 9/11, President Bush became the first American president to host a White House Iftar dinner, an evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the observance of Ramadan. The dinner became an annual event, and soon after, all U.S. embassies and the U.S. State Department began hosting Iftar dinners. In 2006, to the consternation and shock of customs agents, a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official gave CAIR officials a thorough behind-the-scenes tour of U.S. Customs screening and security operations at Chicago's O'Hare airport, the nation's second-busiest. This was in response to CAIR complaints that Muslim travelers were being "unfairly" targeted, even though the nineteen hijackers who flew planes into buildings on 9/11 were all Muslims. Recently, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration manual was mysteriously posted on the internet, while special scrutiny of individuals from fourteen previously targeted Muslim countries has been eliminated from TSA procedures.
When Obama took office, he made several well-publicized attempts at outreach to the Muslim world which included his first official speech, a conciliatory tribute to Muslims in Cairo blaming America for "strained" relations with the Muslim world; a first phone call to Abu Mazan, the head of the Palestinian Authority; and a much-publicized bow to Saudi President Abdullah. In January, instead of attending a scheduled congressional hearing by the House Committee on Homeland Security, Obama's DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano spent two days privately meeting with a select group of Muslims organizations, three of which are directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the meeting, Napolitano briefed members of the extremist Muslim organizations on DHS's counterterrorism programs and arranged for regularly scheduled information-sharing meetings in the future.
The military and judicial tools for fighting the war against Islamic terrorism on the battlefield were fairly restrictive during the Bush presidency and have become even more so since Obama took office. Official policy in Afghanistan and Iraq dictates that civilian casualties are to be avoided at all costs, and the stated goal is public support. Under Obama, soldiers face a number of restrictions. These include a proscription against firing in the direction of gunfire if a person is not visible, a prohibition against shooting unarmed individuals even if they are seen setting up an IED (improvised explosive device), a requirement to issue verbal warnings and warning shots before initiating a deadly shot, limited authorization to use heavy weapons and conduct air strikes, the necessity to determine if a shot aimed at them actually places them in danger, and other limitations on their effectiveness as soldiers. Obama has mandated that enemy combatants have the same legal protections under the U.S. Constitution as U.S. citizens. Terrorist detainees will now receive constitutional rights such as due process and the right to an attorney, be read their Miranda rights to counsel, be permitted to bar involuntary admissions, and they could be tried by juries as "innocent until proven guilty" defendants in U.S. federal courts. For the first time in our nation's history, those who committed acts of war against the United States and were captured on the battlefield are given rights under the U.S. Constitution rather than being tried by internal military commissions. Instead of war being about victory over an enemy, it is now about criminal litigation.
Further, Obama's recent policy of nuclear disarmament has placed the United States at considerable risk. By signing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, the largest nuclear arms reduction treaty in our history, Obama is significantly reducing our nuclear deterrence capability in the face of an increasingly dangerous world with threats from Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China. Obama has committed to a perilous policy of not responding to biological and chemical attacks with nuclear weapons, reducing long-range nuclear weapons, and ruling out modernization of our nuclear arsenal while accepting a nuclear Iran under the guise of its fulfilling energy needs. Obama joined world leaders from 47 nations this week as they began a summit on nuclear terrorism and security, with the Iranian threat conspicuously absent from the agenda. Although Iran's leaders have publicly called for "death to America" and threatened to wipe Israel off the map, Obama has extended a hand and insists on dialogue with the tyrannical regime. He has been determined to work toward engagement while Iran continues to flout international law, provide support to terrorist groups abroad, enlarge its uranium-enrichment capabilities, and torture and kill its own citizens.
In a little over a year, the Obama administration's pattern of reaching out to our Islamic enemies and shunning our allies has been extended in new directions. Obama sided against democratically elected Roberto Micheletti in Honduras in favor of Manuel Zelaya, the puppet of Venezuelan Communist tyrant Hugo Chávez, who had violated Honduran law and the constitution to set himself up as president for life. In a surprise move, the White House has ordered American troops to march in the Red Square to salute Lenin's tomb on Russia's Victory Day, commemorating their triumph against Nazi Germany. Obama has failed to confront the Kremlin about Russian bombers that have been buzzing Alaska and overflying the United Kingdom. The Obama administration has sent envoys to Syria and made overtures to Assad despite Syria's deep ties to Iran, their involvement in international terrorism, and their stonewalling of investigations into their nuclear program. In addition, the Obama administration has been negotiating with the Taliban to reestablish their power in Afghanistan and recently issued an apology to Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi for statements Gaddafi deemed offensive in support of Western ally Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the Obama White House policy toward U.S. allies has been marked by antipathy, slights, and censure. While Israel, America's long-time ally and the only democracy in the Middle East, was chastised by the administration for building apartment units in its capital city and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was snubbed, the continuous suicide and rocket attacks by Hamas and Arab-Palestinians escaped mention. Obama is determined to unilaterally create a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital despite Israel's objections. He has suspended U.S. military sales and proposed sanctions against Israel if the country targets Iran's nuclear reactors as part of a legitimate action to protect its citizens. Early in his term, Obama ungraciously returned a bust of Winston Churchill to the United Kingdom and gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod containing his political speeches. Recently, Hillary Clinton went so far as to interfere in Britain's policy as a sovereign nation by demanding that the United Kingdom negotiate with Argentina on the Falkland Islands dispute. Lately, Obama has been pressuring India, which has suffered from decades of Hindu persecution and death by Pakistani Muslims, to resolve its conflict with Pakistan while providing the terrorist haven with a $7.5-billion aid package.
We have come so far afield of the Reagan doctrine of "peace through strength" that our country is almost unrecognizable. The world has because less safe because of our failure to name the enemy and effectively prosecute a war against them, internationally and inside our own borders. We have downgraded our nuclear capabilities and our ability to respond to attacks and assist our allies. As American power recedes, the vacuum is filled by rogue totalitarian states that have no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction and mass genocide. The Pax Americana, a world peace enforced by American military power and the willingness to use it, may be precipitously coming to an end.