Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Terrorism: Uh, Just Because. . .

Why does Al Qaeda want to kill us? That sounds like the first thing you’d want to know if you were planning to fight them, doesn’t it? But apparently, knowing the answer to that question isn’t so important to the Department of Homeland Security. That was the lesson of a recent press conference put on by Janet Napolitano’s National Security team.

On January 7, 2010, White House correspondent Helen Thomas asked a simple question to Janet Napolitano and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan: “why does Al Qaeda want to kill us?”

The non-answers were disturbing. Here is their exchange:

Brennan: “They’re motivated by a sense of religious, sort of, drive. Al Qaeda has perverted Islam and has corrupted the concept of Islam. Al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”

Thomas: “You’re saying it’s because of religion?”

Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an Al Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”

Thomas: “Why?”

Brennan: [smirks] “This is a long issue but Al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”
Thomas and Napolitano then moved on to other questions.

Did you notice how Brennan was unable to answer the simple question of why Al Qaeda wanted to harm us? All he was able to say is that they want to harm us because they are determined to harm us. That doesn’t exactly give one a warm fuzzy that DHS has the slightest clue how to fight Al Qaeda does it? Understanding your enemy is the first rule of any sort of engagement, from war to politics to negotiations. And if they don’t even know why Al Qaeda is doing what they are doing, then they don’t understand their enemy.

For the record, foreign policy experts think that Al Qaeda was founded in the 1980s by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden formed Al Qaeda because he believed that jihad is required to replace all ideologies in the Muslim world (pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy) with Sharia law. This was his original goal.

In 1990, he became enraged when the House of Saud chose to accept the help of the United States during the First Gulf War (1990) to defend Saudi Arabia, rather than accept his offer of support, which entailed bringing his army of mujahideen Afghan fighters to Saudi Arabia to oppose any invasion by Iraq. After that, he became obsessed with driving non-Muslims from the “land of the two mosques” (Mecca and Medina). He believes that the presence of American (foreign) troops in Saudi Arabia profanes sacred soil.

He particularly hates the United States and other Western countries because of perceived injustices they have perpetrated against Muslim states. These include putting non-Muslim troops in Saudi Arabia, supporting dictators in the Muslim world, and supporting Israel (which he believes needs to be eliminated). He also is angry about American culture, which he perceives as lacking morality. Indeed, in October 2002, he wrote a letter calling on Americans to “reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling and usury.”

That's why he wants to kill us, and that's the agenda that most Islamic terrorists have adopted.

Why couldn't DHS say that? And if they don't know that, why should we believe they know how to fight him?


StanH said...

Now Andrew, you know the reason they still want to kill us is because they haven’t come to understand Barry’s brilliance.

Napolitano, is a clueless democrat sockpuppet, that will do what she’s told. She’s the lamebrain that gave us “man caused disaster,” wow.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, The more I hear Napolitano, the dumber she seems. If you watch the press conference, you really do get the feeling that they honestly don't realize that they haven't answered Thomas' question.

I don't think they're being evasive, I think they just don't realize that "they want to kill us" doesn't answer the question of "why" they want to kill us.

That's scary, because how can they plan a genuine counter strategy if they don't understand the bad guys' motivations and goals?

MegaTroll said...

Unbelievable. It's not like it's a secret why they hate us, except to DHS I guess. Maybe "Bruno" Napolitano will read this and get a clue!

Unknown said...

Andrew: This is either the densest or most disingenuous administration in my lifetime--perhaps both. I would simply say that it is obvious why Al Qaeda wants to kill us, but add that Al Qaeda is merely the strongest and most visible symptom of the wider problem--Islamofascism. If Al Qaeda were to disappear tomorrow, and Israel ceased to exist, the problem would not go away, and another Islamofascist group would step in to fill the vacuum.

The Bush administration probably knew the name of the real enemy, but refused to utter it. The Obama administration isn't even that smart.

AndrewPrice said...

Mega, I wouldn't hold my breath for this administration to figure this out. This seems like another one of those issues that they're happy to ignore.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, There are certainly a large number of terrorist groups -- some are interrelated, some aren't. Al Qaeda just has the highest profile.

In terms of motives, I think it's a bit more complex than Islamofasism because the Muslims themselves aren't unified by any means. The Shia and the Sunnis, for example, view each other as heretics and try to kill each other. Then you add in ethinic differences and different strains of Islam -- some fundamentalist (e.g. Wahabism), some not (e.g. Turkey), and what you get seems more like a religious civil war, where all sides have used the West as an easy scapegoat for their own failures and the failures of their leaders.

If that's the case, then our strategy needs to change. A better strategy would be to isolate them and let them decide their own differences without any visible foreign involvement.

Unknown said...

Andrew: "Islamofascism" incorporates all the various forms of Islamic fundamentalism. They may hate each other, but they hate the West even more. When we got rid of the Nazis, they were simply replaced by their enemy and our former ally, the communists. Get rid of Al Qaeda, say hello to the Islamic Brotherhood or welcome The Hidden Imam. Dividing Islamofascism into its feuding component parts doesn't change the enemy, just the leadership. So your idea of isolating them and letting them fight it out among themselves is correct. It used to be called simply "divide and conquer."

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree with the analogy of the Nazis and the Communists. Their ideology was basically the same as far as outsiders were concerned, but they hated each other with the fury of a thousand suns.

The best thing to do in that situation is, whenever possible, let the two idiots destroy each other. Obviously we couldn't do that with the Nazis because of the threat they posed, but the Islamists don't pose that threat. Their threat is more about individual acts of terror than any sort of invasion of America or its friends.

I would say our best strategy would be to reduce our visible profile, so that they don't have an easy scapegoat, and then let them sink under their own weight.

Look what happened with the Palestinians. The PLO was popular until it was forced to take on the duties of governing. Suddenly, they were responsible for everything that went wrong and the revolutionary fervor got sucked out of most of their cause because their supporters were upset that they didn't provide jobs or pick up the garbage.

It's amazing what damage a little bit of responsibility can do to an ideal.

BevfromNYC said...

Look on the bright side - At least they will now admit openly this is not a figment of the Bush Administration and that the terrorist want to kill us. I'm okay that they can't say why. That will come. That's a step in the right direction.

Andrew - The Islamofascist terrorist issue IS complicated. This is what the Bush Administration really failed to communicate. It's not one group, but a network of loosely based organizations. I think that the Bushies just assumed that everyone understood that when they said it was not a conventional border war.

If what I heard on Sunday is any proof, though they are not calling it by it's name, DHS is now starting to use "profiling" language.

Writer X said...

I think Obama gave Napolitano the Homeland Security position because he doesn't take the department or terrorist threats seriously. The fact that she still remains in the position just solidifies his stupidity.

Napolitano as the AZ Gov. did a mediocre job when things were great. As I've said before, a fifth grader could have run a state when the economy and real estate was booming. But when things get difficult, she runs in the opposite direction (as she did in AZ when our budget fell apart and certainly on immigration issues). No leadership, and no clue, whatsoever. Now she just looks like a clown. So does Brennan.

Writer X said...

Andrew, one other thing. The Commentarama Book Club section: THE LOOMING TOWER by Lawrence Wright can help fill in the details for anyone who's not clear on why the terrorists would like to obliterate us. Very eye-opening.

patti said...

well those reasons AND our all you can eat buffets. i mean that seems as plausible as any reason janet gave.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think you're right. Communication was a huge problem for Bush on all of his policies.

This is a very complex issue with many different groups with different roots and different motivations -- the Bush people unfortunately presented this as if it were a simple war between countries, and gave the impression that if we would just kill some of their leaders then the whole thing would end.

He paid a huge price for that when people began to wonder why our military couldn't get them to stop fighting.

The Obama people have bought into the same simplistic approach. Only instead of using the military, they are more interested in treating this like a criminal issue.

Neither group grasps how complex this is, nor do they grasp that this can't be solved by "getting" a handful of their leaders. This is about ideas which have encouraged a large number of Muslims to decide to rid the world of the rest of us.

We need to kill the idea.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I was wondering about Napolitano's time in Arizona. She seems so incredibly incompetent that I had to wonder how she did as governor. I guess she did well as long as the treasury was overflowing and not so well once the hard choices had to be made?

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, LOL! You're absolutely right! That's as good of a reason as Brennan gave!

Unknown said...

Andrew: I think we're getting closer. We certainly agree on the final strategy. I do think, however, that we will need to show our military opposition to anyone who would attack us by continuing to strike at their multifaceted bases. I say this because our intelligence agencies are in complete disarray, and are incapable presently of conducting the silent war which we must ultimately win.

The other difference I see is that one smart Islamofascist group, sneaking across our borders or hijacking some jumbo jets, and armed with two or three functional nukes or biochemical weapons can do more damage in one day than the Nazis did in the entire war. We need to keep them busy dodging bullets over there while we restore our ability to fight a stealthy war dividing them and turning them against each other.

The Palestinian situation is a good example, but not a perfect one. Wahhabism in Arabia and radical fundamentalist Islam in Iran, for example, have had decades and even centuries to build along indigenous ethnic/religious lines. The Palestinians are a whole new creation of poor western thinking and cynical manipulation by feuding Islamic groups. Palestinians (whatever they are) didn't even exist until Jordan got tired of the murderous hijinks of fudamentalists within their own borders and tossed them out after originally convincing them to leave the Holy Land while Jordan and their allies destroyed Israel (a plan that didn't work out very well).

That left Israel to deal with them. They're a mixed bag of the lowest of the low who have been convinced that they are somehow entitled to destroy and occupy the land of Israel. "Palestinians" pose a serious danger to Israel, but not to the west at large. They will be subdued, one way or another.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Writer X, Good point about the book. I'll make an announcement this week about the book club -- time, place, etc.

Writer X said...

Andrew, Napolitano followed Republican Gov. Jane Hull. She won 46% of the vote against a Rep. challenger named Matt Salmon who led a lackluster campaign but who, even so, garnered 45% of the vote. As long as times were good, she managed to look good. Not exactly brimming with personality or leadership. Or original thought.

She should work as a professor somewhere handing out essay assignments, not leading Homeland Security.

JG said...

What? You mean it's ideologically-based? I though OBL wanted to kill us because the CIA put him up to it.

I agree, I don't think they're being evasive, I think they are being willingly ignorant. To admit that Sharia law is the motivating factor here would be to admit that, hey, those bozos across the aisle might be onto something, and we just can't have that.

JG said...

And since the comment form deleted a portion of my entry, I'd just like to clarify that the first paragraph was sarcastic.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I am afraid that you're right, it is willful ignorance. There are some very unpleasant things that need to be acknowledged if we're going to sort this out, but the Obama people are terrified of offending Muslims.

To begin by denying or ignoring the truth is no way to solve anything.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I got that! LOL!

(Blogger's been a bit finicky today.)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I would certainly not advocate appearing weak or not-responding to their attacks. One of the foundations of Arab-thought is the idea that might makes right and strength equals respect (you see this throughout their literature) and in their responses to recent history. So to turn the other cheek would only encourage them.

That said, I do think we need to lower our profile throughout the Middle East. If they attack us, there is nothing wrong with blowing up their bases or attacking their networks, but we can't turn it into a length ground war or occupy their countries because that just feeds the beast -- it gives them more grounds for playing the victim and to blame their failures on the infidels.

As far as the Palestinians, they are the perfect example of a group that had massive support as an idea -- a revolutionary cause -- which fell apart under the weight of being handed the responsibility of governing.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I think that if we differ at all in our conclusions, it's more about timetables than substance. We are definitely agreed that any further occupations (particularly Afghanistan) are the wrong way to go, and our occupation of Iraq must end as soon as we can reasonably extricate ourselves.

As for Islamofascism being the enemy, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. We can exploit their divisions to our great advantage, but we must never think that there is still not one common enemy. Islamofascism is a single creature like the many-headed hydra, and we need to be the Hercules who figures out how to lop off its heads, and keep them off instead of allowing them to re-grow.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, We probably agree and don't even know it! LOL! Want to fight about it? ;-)

Unknown said...

Andrew: We're lawyers. Of course I want to fight. Ya gotta problem with that? LOL

Tennessee Jed said...

From a slightly different angle: Bush had his "good job Browney, moment, Harry his no accent, light skinned moment, and Clinton survived Monica. (BTW that was not a bad thing or algore might have used presidential incumbancy to win in 2000.) What seems crystal clear is, Democrats don't seem to have to pay the ultimate price (excepting perhaps Spencer Elliott)for their big gaffes.

Now we all agree that the main stream media will try and shape the story to make that so, but I think Republicans are just not as good at storm weathering. Certainly, Clinton had absolutely no problems with being humiliated as long as he stayed in power. 99% of other presidents would have resigned in disgrace.

Tennessee Jed said...

I forgot to add that it seems clear Napolitano should resign or be fired for this incredible show of incompetence

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, She should definitely resign. This is just the latest incident showing that she has no clue what she's doing!

I think the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans goes to a different theory of governing. Republicans are playing by old school rules where honor and decency matter, and where the system is more important than the individual. The Democrats have thrown all of that out for the greater cause, which is to protect their leaders.

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