Obama’s counter-terrorism czar, John Brennan provided an example of the Obama administration’s approach in a speech he gave a few weeks ago. Utilizing the kind of Orwellian newspeak that has become a hallmark of this administration, Brennan said that “…we need to try to build up the more moderate elements” within Hezbollah. It’s at least the second time that Brennan has referred to “moderate elements” within the radical Shia militia, but Brennan surely knows that there are no moderate elements within Hezbollah, just as though there are no moderates within Hamas, the Taliban or al Qaeda. So, why use such a term? There’s only one rational answer: if this administration is going to negotiate with terrorists – in effect trying to find a way to buy them off – it cannot appear to be doing so. While America remains a house divided when it comes to pressing forward war against the jihadis, the “millions for defense, but not a penny for tribute” spirit still resonates among Americans of every political stripe. Obama would face intense criticism on both sides of the aisle if he announced that he was going to negotiate a settlement with terrorists, but when the administration packages that strategy as an attempt to nurture so-called moderates, it sounds much more palatable, so that’s how his counter-terrorism czar is going to sell it.
This is of course the same John Brennan who said: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.” Unfortunately, to the radicals that this administration is trying to court, it is both legitimate and Islamic to murder innocent men, women and children in the course of this “holy struggle.” Again, Brennan knows that. He was in the CIA long enough to understand the realities of Islam, but his current assignment involves papering-over those inconvenient facts, not confronting the cold truth.
Some commentators have accused Obama of sympathizing with the radicals, or possibly being a “closet Muslim” himself. That kind of reaction is understandable, given the president’s poorly-concealed hostility towards Israel and his attempts to curry favor from Islamic states. Yet, the more likely reason that Obama chooses to trod down this dangerous path is because he’s an academic and, like most academics, believes that the right combination of words and concessions can soothe the most savage beasts. It’s a naïve strategy, of the sort that only a smug intellectual can embrace. Appeasement is also a forlorn hope, one that delays an inevitable conflict rather than preventing it, as western leaders from Jefferson through Chamberlain painfully learned. Barack Obama seems determined to take America down that doomed path once more. The inevitable consequences of the president’s policy are obvious to even casual students of history and Islam: America and Israel will surely pay for Obama’s naiveté in blood. The only real questions are when and how much.
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