Well, we say we’re in a war against al Qaeda. We have just never said we have been in a war against terrorism, which is a tactic. It’s an unusual thing to say that we’re at war against a tactic.
I guess this would be news to most Americans. I mean, I constantly watch the news each day – like it’s my job (because it is) – and I was surprised by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough’s answer to CBS’ Bob Schieffer about the war on terror.
McDonough was Schieffer’s guest on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning when he made the shocking and yet not so shocking pronouncement about the war on terror…
For almost 15 years now we Americans have become conditioned to the idea that we are in a state of perpetual battle with the forces of Islam, which use terrorism as their primary means of combat. We’ve been calling this fight ‘the war on terror’ since 2001… so when McDonough strides up and says ‘we don’t call it that because it’s weird‘ (that’s my translation of his quote), forgive me if it just reminds me of how full of themselves the Obama administration is.
Yes, we all know that terrorism is a “tactic” and not a specific group, but the war on terror conveys a much larger meaning. And that is what we Americans are upset with when it comes to the Obama administration’s approach to this fight. Team Obama seems to have lost their tenuous hold on reality and simply decided that the world outside is some kind of fantasyland that will bend to the will of our hackneyed President.
Well, it won’t. And the terrorists won’t either. They don’t care that the Obama team is reticent to say we are fighting “Radical Islam” or that they don’t like to call this a ‘war on terror’.
The terrorists that we are fighting (because all Islamic Radicals are Terrorists) only care about winning. That’s it. Obama’s flailing attempts at diplomacy only serve to buy the bad guys cover and time.
Which is why they’re currently gaining ground and we’re stuck spinning our wheels with pinhead-in-chief on Capitol Hill.
Bob Schieffer: You’re downplaying these incidents because they don’t conform to the narrative you would like to construct here. Which is that ‘we’re winning this war on terrorism’ which you don’t even call a war.
Denis McDonough: “Well, we say we’re in a war against al Qaeda. We have just never said we have been in a war against terrorism, which is a tactic. It’s an unusual thing to say that we’re at war against a tactic. We are, however, at war against al Qaeda, its manifestations in Yemen, its manifestations in South Asia, its manifestations in East Africa, North Africa. And we’re at war, bound to ultimately destroy — first defeat, then destroy — ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”
I think it’s beginning to become more and more obvious that we won’t be able to move forward (ironic, isn’t it) until President Obama is out of office. He’s obviously biding his time and trying to wait out his Presidential clock in the hopes that history won’t remember him as the man who lost the war on terror and instead maybe, just maybe, he can pin the possible loss on the next guy (or gal).
McDonough was also on NBC Sunday morning speaking with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. Let’s just say, things did not go any better there than they did on CBS. When Chuck Todd asked why Team Obama was so taciturn to use the term “Radical Islam,” McDonough replied that they knew the terrorists were Muslim.
“These are Muslims who claim that their warped view of their ideology is what informed their actions, their hateful ideology in this instance. What we simply do not believe, Chuck, is that they should somehow be seen as representatives of Islam. They are not. It’s one of the world’s great religions. It’s — the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not abide by this hateful ideology so we just thought not give them any kind of belief that somehow they deserve that title.”
Ack! Again with this silly idea that calling the terrorists in ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Nusrah and many (MANY) other terrorist organizations Muslim somehow taints all other Muslims. It doesn’t. In the mid-1900s everyone knew that the terrorists in the Irish Republican Army were Catholic and this did not taint the larger Catholic Church… because we’re not idiots. We can understand that there is a difference between the average Muslim on the street and the Islamic terrorist armies that we are at war with.
But this is just a symptom of the greater problem, isn’t it? The fact that President Obama and his team are so focused on terminology and rhetoric unmasks our greatest weakness. Team Obama can philosophize and editorialize, but they cannot govern; they just don’t know how. They can have a great dialogue with the New York Times, but they have no idea how to interact with real people in the real world.
They can talk a good game – but Team Obama doesn’t know how to walk the walk.