FEBRUARY 18, 2015

White House ignores the threat of Islamic terrorism

The president blamed the media for using hyperbole to overstate the risks of terrorism

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WASHINGTON, DC – "It turns out that the White House does have a strategy for fighting Islamic terrorism – just ignore the threat," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

President Obama, who has consistently refused to describe the enemy in the Middle East as Islamic Terrorists, appeared to confirm Weber's assessment. In a recent interview, the president told a reporter at an Internet news site that the media has overblown the threat to the U.S. posed by Al Qaeda and ISIS despite warnings from experts that the danger is real.

The president also asked Congress to provide a formal Authorization to Use Military Force against ISIS. But, his request was described by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as limited and ambiguous and did not come with a defined strategy for defeating radical Islamic terrorism.
Three of his own former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel have warned that the U.S. faces a militant threat from a "syndicate" of terrorist groups, as Panetta put it. Hagel described the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as being "beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded. This is beyond anything we've seen, so we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and - and - and get ready."

Yet, Weber pointed out, the president blamed the media for using hyperbole to overstate the risks of terrorism. "He likened his concern that we'll be attacked again to the concern a big city mayor might have over criminal violence. He dismissed the media coverage of terrorism by off-handedly describing it as a so-called 'If it bleeds, it leads' practice that editors might use to schedule news stories."

Weber said that the president's comments were revealing. "They showed a lack of understanding that the country is beset by an authentic enemy and a worrisome complacency that the problem will somehow resolve itself. The American people, meanwhile, overwhelmingly believe the government also lacks a clear strategy in the fight against terrorism, according to the polls." 

Weber said perhaps the White House's penchant for micromanaging all the country's defense functions instead of allowing experienced executives to run things is the reason he has gone through Defense Secretaries so quickly.  "It makes you wonder how the new guy at DOD, Ashton Carter will fare."

Carter said that the fight against ISIS requires a strategy when he was confronted at his Senate confirmation hearing but was hard-pressed to describe the administration's strategy. News commentator retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said Carter's response "reflected Obama's strategy very well – unfocused, rambling, confused and ineffectual."

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