Raise you hand if you feel safer today from the threat of terrorism than you did five years ago. Do you feel that we have subdued the jihadists and others bent on mayhem sufficiently that they no longer seek to uproot Western democracy?
President Obama deludes himself in his belief that we have diminished the threat of terrorism to the point that it has become less likely we will endure the wrath the malevolent harbor toward non-Islamic societies.
We’ve known terrorism for some time, even before 9/11/2001. That’s one point that the president managed to get correct. We can hope that it will go way, but that’s only whistling in the wind.
The biggest threat to the United States has been al-Qaida. Despite setbacks our fine military and allies have caused its leadership and operatives, the organization has metastasized. They were rapidly pushed out of Afghanistan to their mountainous refuge in Pakistan, and they were struck by drones, yet they persist.
Since the United States placed boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, al-Qaida has sired numerous offspring, in such places as Yemen, Somalia, Africa’s Mahgreb and Chechnya, with cells in numerous other locations. They have operatives here in the United States.
It comes down to more than semantics to refuse to call the engagement of the United States and its allies “a global war on terrorism.”
Despite faults that can be attributed to President George W. Bush, he was realistic in recognizing the Western world, with its cherished values, faced an enemy with no specific national identity bent on our subjugation to a caliphate.
Radical Islam was our adversary and it was indeed a global war. Nothing substantial has changed. It is still a global war.
What has changed is we now have a president who is very adept at playing politics — he is a master at it. He sees things differently than many Americans.
What troubles me as a retired diplomat is that his attitude, his mindset, spreads across to his subordinates. If the Obama administration carries out its varied functions failing to believe we are waging a war on global terrorism, we are encouraging our nefarious opponents. Certainly Ronald Reagan wouldn’t hear of this.
I believe that Chris Stevens and the three Americans with him might be alive today if the leadership in Washington was in a “global terrorism mentality.” It was known that the Benghazi, Libya, area was rife with terrorists. It was known that the British ambassador was attacked and forced to leave. It was known that our diplomatic post had been attacked previously. It was known that the post was inadequately secured because Secretary Clinton wanted to demonstrate American presence in Benghazi as beneficent and sympathetic to the population.
This is the typical “ostrich with its head in the sand,” a failure to acknowledge the reality of the situation. It’s not semantics; it’s attitude. We are now at the mercy of a master politician and his entourage who place all of us at greater risk by not acknowledging the war on global terrorism continues.
Muslim fanatics have but one cause — to create as much havoc as they can, with the ultimate goal of effecting the downfall of Western societies.
Foreign Service Officer (retired)
Cobby Creek Lane
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