When failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad pled guilty last month, his courtroom tirade provided yet another reminder that the foe we face has just as much hostility for President Obama's America as it did President Bush's.
Notwithstanding Obama's apologies for supposed American transgressions against the Muslim world and bold promises of end dates for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our Jihadist enemies are as determined as ever. Consider that most of Shahzad's planning, including his terror training in Pakistan, occurred after Obama's election.
While Obama's goal of reducing international Muslim anger toward America is indeed noble, his approach has not only been ineffective, but may actually be harmful. By raising expectations for a radically "different" America, Obama has, ironically, set us up for an even greater level of Muslim rage.
Far from being some ACLU-loving peacenik, Obama has largely maintained his predecessor's terrorism-related policies. Cosmetic changes, such as dropping the name of the war we didn't choose, have been overshadowed in the eyes of the Muslim world by Obama's decisions to "surge" troop levels in Afghanistan and dramatically increase the drone strikes in Pakistan.
Shahzad himself pointed squarely at Obama's policies. "Until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan," he explained in court, "we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that."
His comments echo the stated motivations of young Jihadists everywhere. Young men who enlist as operatives or act as lone wolves almost uniformly do so in the name of defending Islam and their fellow Muslims.
Before his shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 and wounded dozens more, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had laid out a rationale of Islamic self-defense for his own actions in an Internet posting months earlier. Defending the actions of suicide bombers, he explained that they "help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers."
Another American Muslim in uniform who turned on his fellow soldiers, Army sergeant Asan Akbar, reportedly offered similar justification for his actions. After hurling several grenades into military tents in Kuwait in 2003 that killed two and wounded 14, Akbar exclaimed, "You guys are coming into our countries and you're going to rape our women and kill our children."
Taking Jihadists' justifications at face value, some have suggested that the key to minimizing the terrorist threat is simply to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Writing for the New York Times' website, Robert Wright suggested that maybe "the holy war could end if America would stop using military force."
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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