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Heads in the sand

Posted by Richard on May 14, 2010

If you think I was too harsh in Naming the enemy, you need to watch Eric Holder, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, respond to a simple, direct, and non-confrontational question by Rep. Lamar Smith. It's an amazing two minutes of video, at once infuriating and hilarious.


[YouTube link]

This pathological unwillingness to identify the root cause of the problem, to name our enemies, and to acknowledge the seriousness of the threat we face is going to get a lot more people killed. Depending on blind luck and inept bomb-making to keep us safe is a losing strategy. Pretending that the real terrorist threat comes from anti-government right-wing extremists, tea partiers, and opponents of Obamacare is … well, I don't know if it's contemptibly cynical or just self-delusional.

Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn explore this issue in depth in the May 17 issue of The Weekly Standard, noting that "success in the war on terror is not apprehending terrorists after their attacks fail. Success is preventing them from attempting the attack in the first place." I strongly suggest reading the whole thing, but here's an excerpt (emphasis added): 

So, three attacks in six months, by attackers with connections to the global jihadist network—connections that administration officials have gone out of their way to diminish.

The most striking thing about all three attacks is not what we heard, but what we haven’t heard. There has been very little talk about the global war that the Obama administration sometimes acknowledges we are fighting and virtually nothing about what motivates our enemy: radical Islam. 

This is no accident. Janet Napolitano never used the word “terrorism” in her first appearance before Congress as secretary-designate of Homeland Security on January 15, 2009. Shortly thereafter, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration had dropped the phrase “Global War on Terror” in favor of “Overseas Contingency Operations.” And just last month, we learned that the White House’s forthcoming National Security Strategy would not use religious words such as “jihad” and “Islamic extremism.”

When asked why she did not utter the word “terrorism” in the course of her testimony, Napolitano explained that she used “man-caused disaster” instead to avoid “the politics of fear.” 

The Department of Homeland Security was created after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history to prevent further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. And the head of that department is worried that using the word “terrorism” is playing the politics of fear.

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