Obama's 'Victory' Over Terror

Michael Widlanski
"Al-Qaeda is on the run, and Osama Bin-Laden is dead," declared President Barack Obama  (in almost identical language) at more than a dozen campaign appearances and major policy speeches in the last year.

But when America closes embassies in more than 20 countries for fear of terror, it sends a very strong message that America, not Al-Qaeda, is on the run.

Britain, which made tremendous intelligence discoveries about Al-Qaida in Arabia and Yemen (some of which Obama aides endangered with credit-taking leaks), only closed its own embassy in Yemen, not in 24 countries.

"Al-Qaida is not dead, but is alive and kicking, and it has merely changed its form," observed Professor Uzi Rabi, head of Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Several Israeli experts have said that Western governments must be alert to "terror chatter" but also have to be careful that they do not grant terrorists a victory by inflicting damage on their own countries by reacting recklessly to what may be a terrorist feint.

"Hamas used that tactic against Israel a number of times, and without spilling any blood it got  Israel to hurt itself by wasting resources," observed Ron Ben-Yishai, strategic commentator for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

Yes, it is prudent to pay attention to intelligence clues and "terror chatter," but when it comes to terror, President Obama see-saws between apathy and frenzy, between stony denial  and feverish response.

Obama Administration officials, chiefly the president, Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA director John Brennan are "in denial" about Arab-Islamic terror, pretending that the Christmas Day bomber was a "lone gunman," that Fort Hood was "workplace violence" and that jihad is merely a spiritual journey.

The great embassy close-out has taken place perhaps because Obama and Hillary Clinton ignored several clear warnings of attack on Americans in Libya one year ago and tried to cover-up with a preposterous story that a you-tube video sparked some crowd response.

It is high time Barack Obama and his aides were honest with themselves and with us about terror.

Bin-Laden was indeed killed on Obama's watch, but the order to find and, if needed, kill him, was actually issued by Bill Clinton and George Bush. The information that led to Bin-Laden was gleaned by techniques established by the Bush Administration, some of which Obama condemned and then exceeded himself with wholesale probes of American journalists.

None of this ever stopped Obama from taking  credit for himself for getting Bin-Laden while trying to evade responsibility for easing up on other aspects of the war on terror-such as interrogating captured terrorists.

It is a bit sad to watch Obama officials shout "watch out, there's a terror war out there" just two months after Obama gave two major speeches on terror, saying:

a. there never was a real war on terror and

b. the war was basically over.

So here's what we should learn from this episode

  • President Barack Obama was wrong when he said only two months ago that the United States had basically defeated Arab-Islamic terrorists. They are still here, and we should know that from events in Benghazi and Boston.
  • Fighting terror is a marathon event, not a sprint. It demands consistent and long-range policies, such as solid intelligence-gathering techniques keyed to suspected terrorists not American journalists.
  • Fighting terror is not a spectator sport or a headline-grabbing event, unlike what many Obama aides believe. Leaks and docu-dramas may help the president in the short-term, politically, but they endanger American lives.

If President Obama can admit that he might have misjudged the terror situation, this episode might lead to some constructive rethinking of his policies on terror.


"Al-Qaeda is on the run, and Osama Bin-Laden is dead," declared President Barack Obama  (in almost identical language) at more than a dozen campaign appearances and major policy speeches in the last year.

But when America closes embassies in more than 20 countries for fear of terror, it sends a very strong message that America, not Al-Qaeda, is on the run.

Britain, which made tremendous intelligence discoveries about Al-Qaida in Arabia and Yemen (some of which Obama aides endangered with credit-taking leaks), only closed its own embassy in Yemen, not in 24 countries.

"Al-Qaida is not dead, but is alive and kicking, and it has merely changed its form," observed Professor Uzi Rabi, head of Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Several Israeli experts have said that Western governments must be alert to "terror chatter" but also have to be careful that they do not grant terrorists a victory by inflicting damage on their own countries by reacting recklessly to what may be a terrorist feint.

"Hamas used that tactic against Israel a number of times, and without spilling any blood it got  Israel to hurt itself by wasting resources," observed Ron Ben-Yishai, strategic commentator for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

Yes, it is prudent to pay attention to intelligence clues and "terror chatter," but when it comes to terror, President Obama see-saws between apathy and frenzy, between stony denial  and feverish response.

Obama Administration officials, chiefly the president, Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA director John Brennan are "in denial" about Arab-Islamic terror, pretending that the Christmas Day bomber was a "lone gunman," that Fort Hood was "workplace violence" and that jihad is merely a spiritual journey.

The great embassy close-out has taken place perhaps because Obama and Hillary Clinton ignored several clear warnings of attack on Americans in Libya one year ago and tried to cover-up with a preposterous story that a you-tube video sparked some crowd response.

It is high time Barack Obama and his aides were honest with themselves and with us about terror.

Bin-Laden was indeed killed on Obama's watch, but the order to find and, if needed, kill him, was actually issued by Bill Clinton and George Bush. The information that led to Bin-Laden was gleaned by techniques established by the Bush Administration, some of which Obama condemned and then exceeded himself with wholesale probes of American journalists.

None of this ever stopped Obama from taking  credit for himself for getting Bin-Laden while trying to evade responsibility for easing up on other aspects of the war on terror-such as interrogating captured terrorists.

It is a bit sad to watch Obama officials shout "watch out, there's a terror war out there" just two months after Obama gave two major speeches on terror, saying:

a. there never was a real war on terror and

b. the war was basically over.

So here's what we should learn from this episode

  • President Barack Obama was wrong when he said only two months ago that the United States had basically defeated Arab-Islamic terrorists. They are still here, and we should know that from events in Benghazi and Boston.
  • Fighting terror is a marathon event, not a sprint. It demands consistent and long-range policies, such as solid intelligence-gathering techniques keyed to suspected terrorists not American journalists.
  • Fighting terror is not a spectator sport or a headline-grabbing event, unlike what many Obama aides believe. Leaks and docu-dramas may help the president in the short-term, politically, but they endanger American lives.

If President Obama can admit that he might have misjudged the terror situation, this episode might lead to some constructive rethinking of his policies on terror.