Allahu Akbar Orlando — Analysis of the absurd
By Mark Alexander
Historically, the worst in America brings out the best in America. Whether the catastrophic Islamist 9/11 attack 15 years ago, or the devastating Islamist attack in Orlando earlier this month, killing 49 civilians and leaving many others in critical condition, first responders, friends and neighbors, and most Americans nationwide, are quick to rally in support of victims and their families. This unity in moments of great tragedy speaks volumes about the combined character of our nation.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said about most leftist demagogues and many of their loyal constituents. When a political machine depends on a generationally tried and true "divide and conquer" strategy — one that foments discontent and division based on income, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, education, occupation and the like — in order to achieve its political objectives, predictably their politics of disunity will emerge before the blood on the walls has dried.
Indeed, that was abundantly apparent after the murders in Orlando, when Barack Obama and his water boys wasted no time converting this tragedy into political fodder, propping up their political agenda upon the coffins of the dead. The contrast between the unifying good of the American people and the gross politicization of this tragedy by BO et al. was crystal clear. BO is not only divisive, but he appeals, directly, to the absolute worst in America.
Breaking from my usual narrative column, allow me to share some categorical observations about the Orlando attack.
As you know, the assailant, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, was the son of Afghan immigrants, and his father has ties to the Taliban. He was 29, divorced and remarried to Noor Salman, who prosecutors are now seeking to indict as a co-conspirator on 49 counts of murder and 53 counts of attempted murder. She also had knowledge that Mateen was considering a Disney property as an alternate target.
Mateen was working as a security guard for a British company, G4S, which has been the recipient of substantial DHS funds since 9/11. In other words, our tax dollars supported the Orlando assailant.
Over the last 10 years, Mateen was indoctrinated in part by the online teachings of Islamist cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and affirmed by members of his own Florida mosque.
He selected his target, an "LGBT" nightclub, based on Islam's mainstream prohibition against homosexuals. He had previously visited this club, either as a patron or casing his target. If the former, he will likely become a "gay cause célèbre" for those who blame Christians and Republicans for not unconditionally embracing the LGBT agenda.
Notably, an Islamist imam who preached that it was merciful to murder homosexuals came to Orlando in April of this year. After the attack, his father posted a video message noting that his son should have refrained because "God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality."
I have spent some instructive time consulting with counterterrorism analytical groups over the course of the last five presidential administrations. While the focus of those groups has always been the prevention of WMD attacks — and BO's Iran deal certainly ratchets up the potential of that threat vector — the most likely terrorist threats have always been low-tech assaults aimed at soft targets.
As I wrote in "Islamic Jihad — Target USA," "The most likely near-term form of attack against civilians on our turf will be modeled after the conventional Islamist assaults in the Middle East — bombings and shootings, as we have now seen in Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels, Sydney, Toronto, Boston, New York and Washington. These attacks were low tech but effective in terms of instilling public fear." Indeed, the 9/11 attacks started with box cutters, and subsequent attacks at Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and now Orlando have all been low tech.
The Failed Investigation of Mateen
The day of the attack, FBI investigator Ron Hopper said the assailant bragged about "having ties to terrorist organizations." He added in the most politically correct phrasing, "We do have suggestions that that individual may have leanings toward a particular ideology." (Of course, Hopper would be reassigned to some FBI outpost on a Pacific island if he dared use more descriptive language than BO.)
Now, what "particular ideology" might that be? The assailant dialed 911 and swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State shortly after his initial assault.
Indeed, Mateen was the subject of two extensive FBI investigations based on his Islamist connections and his assertions of allegiance to radical Islam. The first investigation began in May of 2013 and lasted 10 months, and the second was launched three months after the conclusion of the first, and lasted four months.
On further review, according to FBI Director James Comey, Mateen had made "statements that were inflammatory and contradictory." Comey said, "First, he claimed family connections to al Qaeda. He also said that he was a member of Hezbollah, which is a Shia terrorist organization and a bitter enemy of the Islamic State, or ISIL. He said that he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so he could martyr himself. When this was reported to us, the FBI's Miami office opened a preliminary investigation."
Some of his co-workers expressed concern that if they reported him, they would be viewed as insensitive to Islam and might, themselves, become subject to discrimination charges.
To be clear, the fact that Mateen was not arrested prior to this incident isn't so much about an FBI failure as it is about Barack Obama's blinding Islamophilia. This is clearly reflected in his administration's policies, which set the bar so high for prosecuting Islamists that the FBI took no further action.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said this week, "We've got three examples now of folks on the radar — Major Nidal Hasan, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and now Omar Mateen — who were on our radar, who were looked at, are then dismissed."
Notably, this hypersensitivity toward Muslims is similar to that harbored by Bill Clinton. In 1999, his administration denied a request by an FBI agent to open a case file on Saudi nationals who were taking flight lessons. The agent was informed by a flight training supervisor that he thought it curious the Saudis were learning to fly heavy commercial aircraft, but showed no interest in mastering takeoffs or landings. Twenty months later, it would become tragically apparent why.
As for the assertion that because Mateen was not directly involved with a terrorist network, he is a "lone wolf" or "self-radicalized," that is grossly misleading. Each of the thousands of Islamist terrorist acts worldwide is unified by their allegiance to Islam.
Years ago, in order to better understand the Islamist threat, I coined the word "Jihadistan," which is a borderless nation of Islamic extremists comprising ISIL, al-Qa'ida and other Muslim terrorist groups around the world. Most of these groups and individuals are autonomous by the standard hierarchal nation-state definition, and are connected by ideology rather than centralized command and control. This makes identifying and containing this enemy more challenging.
BO's Obfuscatory Response
In his remarks the day of the Orlando attack, Obama did not use the words "Muslim" or "Islam."
Two days later, he angrily insisted that he would not associate Islam with these acts of terrorism worldwide. "What exactly would using [the term 'radical Islam'] accomplish?" BO huffed. "What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away."
Fact is, the correct answer is all of the above, and indeed, failing to identify a threat by name ensures it does not go away. Do the math — the number of Islamist terror attacks, foreign and domestic since Obama took office has increased tremendously.
Columnist Monica Crowley observed, "The fact that we are still having this conversation [about calling Islamic terror what it is] all these years after 911 is absurd, outrageous and dangerous. ... [Obama] has an ideologically allergic reaction to linking Islam with terrorism. ... If he makes that connection then he is going to have to pursue a more aggressive policy in the Middle East and he has never been prepared to do that."
Indeed, as I wrote in "Patriots v. Appeasers," respected researcher Graeme Wood published an objective and comprehensive exposition on the Islamic State, highlighting the absurdity of claiming that Islamic terrorism is anything but Islamic.
Wood notes, "Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group's theology, told me, 'embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion' that neglects 'what their religion has historically and legally required.' Many denials of the Islamic State's religious nature, he said, are rooted in an 'interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.'"
Wood concluded, "The reality is that the Islamic state is Islamic. Very Islamic."
Obama reiterated that Islam is a religion of peace, and unquestionably many, perhaps most Muslims, are people who want to live and raise their families in peace. But there is something that distresses me about each of these incidents: Where is the unified national condemnation for these attacks from American Muslim leaders? Where is it?
BO has demonstrated such limitless ineptitude and penchant for obfuscation in every aspect of national security that even his staunchest political allies should duck and cover whenever BO pontificates on the subject.
Obama's most catastrophic foreign policy failure was his ill-advised withdrawal from Iraq, the centerpiece of his 2012 re-election campaign. That political charade created the power vacuum that gave rise to the Islamic State.
Recall if you will his assertion about ISIL: "We've contained them." That was a gross misdirect just before the Paris attack.
Regarding the Orlando attack, BO claims, "He was inspired by terrorist information. ... I think we don't yet know the motivation. ... We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally, uh, it does appear that, at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL. ... [The FBI] has reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer."
There was a lot of evidence on the floor of that Orlando nightclub indicating Mateen's motivation, direction and allegiance, and plenty of evidence prior to that attack.
"There is no evidence that this is part of a larger plot," claimed Obama, unless of course you consider all the evidence tying Mateen to the "terrorist information" to which all the previous jihadis subscribed.
BO also had the audacity to insist, "We all need to look at what we could have done to prevent this. ... We need to demonstrate that we are defined more ... by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us." Fact is, he is the greatest obstacle to preventing such attacks, and it is patently absurd that he would lecture us about demonstrating that we're not "defined more ... by the hate of the man" who committed this attack.
"This is an especially heartbreaking day," he said, "for all our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. ... [We need the] strength and courage to change" our attitudes toward homosexuals. Who exactly does he think murdered his LGBT friends? The mainstream media may be loath to report it, but this was a gay-on-gay crime.
Regarding BO's refusal to acknowledge the obvious ideological connection between this attack and every other Islamist attack, his spokesman Josh Earnest said, "We are not in any way going to give an extremist terrorist organization the legitimacy that they seek. ... They crave the notion that they could be identified as religious leaders or holy warriors that are engaged in a war in the name of Islam against the West. They're wrong."
Tell that to the estimated 300,000 civilians who have been murdered by Islamists worldwide in the name of Islam since 2012.
The Obama/Clinton defense against Islamist is equivalent to the 1950's "duck and cover" response to a nuclear bomb — as if crawling under your desk will protect you from sunburn when a two-megaton nuke detonates in your neighborhood.
Clinton's "Happy" Response
For her part, endeavoring to sound more presidential than like a failed former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton responded to challenges from Donald Trump to call Islamic terrorism what it is. Clinton said, "I have clearly said that we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people, uh, and to me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism I think they mean the same thing. I'm happy to say either."
Now, whenever Clinton says, "I'm happy," she's lying. In fact, when asked a few months ago why she didn't use such straightforward terminology, Clinton said, "The problem is, that sounds like we are declaring war against a religion, and that to me is, number one, wrong."
Clinton declared, "This was ... an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: Please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. As president I will make identifying and stopping lone wolves a top priority."
Whew ... I feel safer already!
Of course, Trump's self-congratulatory and divisive rhetoric just hours after the Orlando slaughter was absurd. On his nationalist/populist call to ban Muslims from entry, House Speaker Paul Ryan responded correctly: "I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country's interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country." He noted we needed stricter "security tests, not religious tests" for immigrants.
The Diversionary Pivot to "Weapons of War"
Here's the predictable essence of Obama's diversionary "gun control" spin: "Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. We have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be. ... And to actively do nothing — that's a decision, too."
Apparently, BO "forgot" that Paris and Brussels, and the state of California for that matter, have strict laws against the possession of the weapon types the Orlando assailant used — but those attacks still happened. If "gun control" were the solution, then there would be no terrorism in Western Europe — and (thus far), the European attacks have had far more casualties.
Furthermore, the Orlando attack took place in a "gun free" zone — apparently, the bloodthirsty assailant didn't pay attention to the sign.
Clinton said, "[W]e need to keep guns like the ones used [in Orlando] out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets."
Jeh Johnson, BO's feckless Homeland Security secretary, added, "We have to face the fact that meaningful gun control has to be a part of homeland security. We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists to get a gun in this country. ... Sensible gun control policy is a matter of homeland security."
Obama doubled down on his gun control pivot: "How easy it is for [assailants] to obtain weapons, uh, is, uh, in some cases, going to make a difference as to whether they're able, uh, to carry out attacks like this or not. Um, and, and, uh, we make it very easy for, uh, individuals who are troubled or disturbed or want to engage and violent acts, uh, to get powerful weapons, uh, very quickly." (Note: I included BO's verbal ticks because the greater the frequency of "uh," the bigger the lie.)
Obama is renewing his charge for a ban on "assault weapons," or "weapons of war," the latest Leftist descriptor, given that they had no legislative success with the previous rhetoric, and typical of his Demo water carriers in Congress, Rep. James Clyburn declared, "This is not about ISIS, this is not about any kind of foreign terror. This is about guns in America and whether or not we're going to have some kind of moderation to this Second Amendment."
Let's be clear: If Obama and Clinton could sprinkle some of their magic fairy dust on the Constitution and make firearms disappear, the terrorist carnage would elevate exponentially. We will quickly and rudely find out that Islamists worldwide have murdered 1,000 times more civilians with bombs, the binary components of which can be readily acquired. Pick up a copy of the Jerusalem Post and check out the blast effect of bombs, then pick up a history book and calculate the number of deaths that have resulted once socialists confiscated the people's best means of defending themselves. Here's a hint: Start with Stalin, Hitler and Mao...
But the fundamental issue is this — the Second Amendment was at inception, and remains, "the palladium of the Liberties of the Republic."
While the Second Amendment does concern self-defense, it is first and foremost about defending the Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution. As such, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is reasonably and justifiably understood to be "necessary to the security of a free State."
Of course, the notion that this Second Amendment right is necessary to secure the unalienable rights of all Americans is anathema to most people on the Left, who believe that their rights are provided and ensured by the state. It is uncomfortable for them to believe their government could ever be anything other than benevolent.
And, for the record, the political and media chattering class, who toss around terms like "assault rifle" without any regard to their meaning, should learn something about firearms. Assault weapons are select fire — and the firearms used by the Orlando assailant were not.
Social Media Hysterics
There was plenty of blame shifting flooding social media outlets. Most of these were reflexive and representative of deep insecurities — especially those promoting simple solutions to very complex threats.
ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio tweeted, "You know what is gross — your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate." But the aptly named Strangio — a homosexual who says he "spent [his] life fighting Christian homophobia," also blamed Christians and Republicans for the assault. "The Christian Right," Strangio tweeted, "has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No."
And Facebook was swamped with appeals to politicos taking this form: "Senator X, I am a constituent, and I vote for candidates that make gun reform a priority. I expect to see you take strong action on common sense gun reform. Let's do the right thing here."
For amusement, I responded to one of these posts: "This is not a 'gun problem.' The 9/11 attack on our country was perpetuated by terrorists using box cutters. That was not a 'box cutter problem.' The Boston Marathon bombers used a pressure cooker. That was not a 'cookware problem.' When two Islamists attempted to bring down commercial airlines, one with a bomb in his underwear and the other a bomb in his shoe, that was not an 'apparel problem.' The Islamo-fascist threat is more complicated than banning so-called 'assault weapons.' Further, if you don't want to exercise your Second Amendment rights, that is your prerogative. You may want to post a 'gun free household' sticker on your front door. But don't underestimate the safety and security you enjoy because your neighbors have the capability to defend you against personal harm, and moreover, defend the Liberty enshrined in our Constitution, which ensures your freedom to make Facebook posts, against encroachment from tyrants."
The response: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Speaker Paul Ryan's response to Orlando reflects the clarity of the conservative perspective on national security: "We need to be clear-eyed about who did this. We are a nation at war with Islamist terrorists. ... This is a threat that simply must be defeated, and right now [Obama] does not have a plan to get the job done."
Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Monday that the FBI has more than 1,000 active investigations in all 50 states.
Despite that threat, BO's Homeland Security Advisory Council submitted a report titled "Countering Violent Extremism" a week before the Orlando attack. In that report, McCaul said, "They try to remove from the vernacular, State Department, Homeland and DOJ, [references to] radical Islamic extremism."
In fact, the report recommends restricting the use of any "disrespectful" language that Muslims might find offensive, including the words "jihad," "sharia" and "takfir," and to "reject religiously charged terminology." The report notes that part of the solution to preventing violent attacks is to reach out to "gender diverse" groups and "avoid stigmatizing specific communities."
Stupefied by such nonsense, Rep. McCaul mirrored Speaker Ryan's assertion: "We have to define the enemy in order to defeat them."
After 9/11, George W. Bush resolved to prosecute Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in order to keep the battle on our enemy's turf and off our own. He understood that the nation would grow weary of the long war, but that we had no other option.
To that end, I'm reminded that in Ernest Hemingway's WWI short story, "In Another Country," in which he writes of the war-weary: "In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it any more."
In 2008, Obama campaigned on the promise that we would retreat from the war in the Middle East, and "not go to it any more." Those were the days of "hope and change."
Welcome back to reality.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.