“Dealing” with Terrorism, the Obama Way

By Rachel Ehrenfeld, Ken Jensen
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 @ 3:05AM

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The State Department’s extended embassy closures in the Middle East and Africa and worldwide alert to Americans traveling abroad, according to ABC News was announced because of fear of al Qaeda attacks by “living (but not ticking) bombs,” i.e. surgically implanted undetectable liquid explosives. Most likely these were developed by AQAP’s expert bomb-maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is alive today probably thanks to the Associated Press.

The AP’s May 7, 2012. report on al-Asiri’s new explosive device probably saved his life only to threaten our lives.

Thus undermining the efforts underway to kill the terrorist .

Al-Asiri remained free to improve his super-bomb.  At that time, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, remarked, “I don’t think those leaks should have happened. There was an operation in progress and I think the leak is regarded as very serious.” And the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers (R-MI) stated, “If something bad happens because it was leaked too early, that’s a catastrophe and it’s also a crime.”

AP called it ‘free speech’. Alas, as we are witnessing today,this was irresponsible speech.

According to the Obama administration, “intercepted conversations” between bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahri, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, head of AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula)exposed this recent threat. If this is true, one would think that the NSA could have located these two and the CIA could have killed them.

As for closing the embassies, Rep. Ted Poe made an excellent point the other day.  If we’re going to temporarily close embassies and consulates due to al Qaeda threats, why announce it publicly? Because we have done so, al Qaeda won’t have to bother to attack any of them now.

Terrorists 21, U.S. Nil.

It boggles the mind that this is happening while the administration urges us to understand that the “War on Terror” is behind us. Clearly, the term that the administration doesn’t like is “war.” “War” requires a determination to win. But as we have seen again and again, this administration seems determined not to win. Instead, they want to “deal with” terrorism.

And “war” means, if not always physical violence, at least other nastiness such as economic depredations, cyber interference with critical infrastructure, etc. The declaration of war on one’s enemy connotes power, and the will to use it  often works to deter attacks.

The tenets of the Obama approach to foreign policy seem to be as follows:

* As Americans bent on ‘changing the world’ for the better (the meaning of Obama’s reelection), we denounce the policies of past administrations and the history of America’s involvement in the world.

* We must reject outright the thought that other countries are potential enemies, even after they’ve aggressed against the United States.  Shows of strength and resolution are not solutions to dealing with enmities in the long run.

* We must engage other countries, even while and after they attack us, as potential allies (Iran).  Everyone’s values, including oppression, are equally valid and should never be viewed as a real cause of aggression.  As we should be the ally of every other country, do not think of or publicly call particular ones allies.

* We must assume that aggression is not a sign of irrational hostility or evil intent, but evidence of some kind of mistake or misunderstanding or the absence of social and economic justice in a country’s society. Denying aggression is the proper way to respond to it initially, and even, possibly, long-term.  After all, if we engage aggressors properly, aggression might never occur again (Don’t try this on a mad dog, or a viper). It’s not helpful to remind our future friends that they once upon a time aggressed, killed Americans, did us economic damage, etc.

* We must assume that the people in an aggressing country are just like us. If their culture, religion or history are calling to destroy us, do not assume that it will always be so.  We owe it to the ourselves, our adversaries, and the universal culture and history of the future to embrace those things and to learn from them so that a proper symbiosis will occur between how we think and others behave. In order to avoid being dubbed a “cultural imperialist,” the United States should refrain from offending other countries and allow those abroad to tell us when the symbiosis has been reached.  Whatever they come up with, we should sign on to.

* When what used to be called aggression occurs, the first duty of the United States is to look to its own sins.  If an aggressor accuses the U.S. of something it purportedly did in the past, why not confess to it?  We’re not the U.S. of the past, but of the world-historical future.  The “aggressor” may feel so much better that it will stop what it’s doing.  If it doesn’t, it’s time for more confession. Remember that success in the world and having what others don’t have can be regarded as offensive, even if not pridefully expressed.

* As for terrorists, never use an adjective in front of that word. If fact, don’t use the word “terrorist” at all. It’s an inexact label freighted with judgments we have no business making (like thinking of terrorists or terrorism as inherently evil). People commit militant acts. Fortunately, until a person commits a militant act, we don’t have to worry about him or her. If he or she commits such an act we must deal with him or her in the same manner as any other criminal (or, rather, persons who commit acts against the law: criminal is also an inexact label) and, otherwise, engage with him or her in the same manner as we engage with other countries (see above).

* We must affirm U.S. public opinion against foreign military engagement by pointing out the unwisdom of past U.S. acts and by assuring the world that war never solves anything.

* If push comes to shove, and “war” seems unavoidable, leak to the media.

Will any of this work? Any reader with common sense will say “No.”

“Dealing” with radical Islamic terrorists, including al Qaeda and Iran, to avoid confrontation and criticism by some, is a choice the U.S. can’t afford.

Further Reading

Josef Joffe: Exploiting Obama’s Foreign Policy Retreat

Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, Latest News, U.S. Policy

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