Friday, August 07, 2015

Clark Whelton: Playing Dumb About Radical Islam

CITY JOURNAL: Progressives pretend not to understand the motives behind terrorist attacks.

President Obama’s longstanding refusal to say that the U.S. is at war with radical Islam was unaffected by the murder of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga. The president described the killer, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, as “a lone gunman,” while his secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, was apparently mystified by what he termed a “senseless act of violence.” Carter must have been aware of what the press was already reporting, that Abdulazeez had been blogging about radical Islam and showing other signs that his ultimate goal was jihad. Was the SecDef simply playing dumb, or was he following the example of a president who has sidestepped every opportunity to denounce radical Islam by name?

A clue to Obama’s reticence came last February when Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson revealed that the president had been asked by Muslim leaders in America to avoid linking Isis with Islam—presumably to prevent a violent Muslim sect from being associated with the religion in whose name it wages war. In April, however, with the al-Qaida massacre of 148 Kenyans who had been targeted for their Christian faith (Obama called it “terrorism”), this dubious excuse lost all credibility. Moreover, Muslim leaders in many countries have denounced radical Islam by name.

The Obama administration was temporizing on radical Islam long before Isis showed up. In 2009, the White House labeled the murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood by Nidal Malik Hasan—who shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he pulled the trigger—as “workplace violence.” When Congress asked Hillary Clinton about the attack in Benghazi, which happened on the anniversary of 9/11, the secretary of state played dumb. “Was it because of a protest,” she said, “or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans?” And so, in the shadow of Chattanooga, the question remains: why won’t Obama denounce radical Islam by name? Read on and comment » | Clark Whelton * | Thursday, August 6, 2015

* Clark Whelton was a speechwriter for New York City mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani.