Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Obama Doctrine on Countering Islamic Terrorism – Tactical Confusion and Strategic Incoherence

A while ago three Navy Seals were almost court martialed (link) for allegedly giving a fat lip to a terrorist, according to the latter. But now Obama sends in a Seal assassination team that kills an unarmed Osama bin Laden. So let’s see if I have the Obama operational principle now -- targeted assassinations by American troops on orders from the President are OK, fine and dandy, and legal too, but Seals must undergo the third degree about a punch alleged by a terrorist. I think I have it.

Obama has told us that Islamic terrorists have corrupted Islam and are not true Muslims, but then assures the world that bin Laden’s body was buried with respect and handled according to Muslim tradition and requirements.

As for the Seals, per the emerging Obama Doctrine they can be heroes or villains, depending on who is giving the orders. In the raid against bin Laden’s compound, which incidentally violated the territorial sovereignty of a country supposedly our ally, Obama used the very Navy Seal team that some of his supporters have called “Dick Cheney’s personal assassination squad.” But now that we have actual evidence of an assassination, one ordered by Obama and not Cheney, the Seals are heroes to the anti-military ultraliberals.

On terrorism generally, Obama and many ultraliberals assert it is primarily a law enforcement issue, and not a war. But to get bin Laden, Obama sent the military, not a gaggle of federal lawyers.  Where is the anti-war left now?  Where have they all gone?  Did they not really believe what they were saying?

Obama has told us that enhanced interrogation techniques to discover information on Islamist terrorist activity has caused us to “lose our moral bearings”, but he uses that information, obtained at the Guantanamo Bay prison, to eventually track down and kill bin Laden and likely save many more American lives. So by the Obama Doctrine it’s bad to obtain information that way, but heroic to use it to protect Americans.

And speaking of Gitmo, ultraliberals tell us it’s a moral outrage to detain captured suspected terrorists there, and the facility serves, says Obama, as a recruiting tool for even more terrorists. But it’s fine to kill suspected terrorists in the field with drones or men (which risks the deaths of innocent bystanders as well). So by the Obama Doctrine it’s a moral outrage to capture terrorists alive and detain them, but fine to kill them, along with any unlucky bystanders, in the field without a reading of Miranda rights. Maybe one rationale, inter alia, is that killing suspects in the field rather than taking them captive avoids the liberal embarrassment of the human rights violation inherent in captivity, though it does deprive us of any chance of obtaining intelligence through interrogation (and could that be the point?). Better to kill them than to capture and question them (I wonder if all the Muslims that Obama has ordered killed with drone missiles also feel that way).

Closing the Gitmo prison for suspected terrorists is “a matter of fierce moral urgency,” says team Obama, but after two years Obama keeps it open, with no closing in sight.

In the Libyan war Obama started, Obama says we’re supporting the rebels but also says we’re “leading from behind”. We occasionally bomb something of the Qadaffi government but don’t (usually) tactically support the rebels in the field.

Thus the Obama Doctrine on Countering Islamic Terrorism – Tactical Confusion and Strategic Incoherence.

Why such? Well, it must be obvious to all that Obama, born of and raised by communist fellow travelers in an environment that was for years culturally Muslim as much as anything else, is very conflicted about all of this anti-Islamist stuff. One even wonders if his hand was forced to OK the bin Laden assassination operation – did the military come to him with a strike opportunity he could not pass on, at the risk that his refusal would eventually become public and ruin his chance for reelection? No doubt Obama does not want to see Americans killed, but by every indication to all sentient observers he has a great deal of sympathy for the anti-American point of view espoused by the Islamists – that America is a severely morally compromised power that needs to be taken down a few notches and fundamentally transformed. In other words, in that point of view, we’re getting what we deserve for our past sins, real or imagined, mortal or venial, and definitely not graded on a world curve.

John M Greco