The spiritual leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, rarely makes public statements. Chased from his perch atop the Supreme Council of Afghanistan weeks after 9/11, he has spent the last dozen years in hiding, reportedly in Pakistan.
He watched as Operation Enduring Freedom sought to bring democracy to his native land. Since the first step in that exercise was to attack Afghanistan’s terrorist core, he saw his home in Kandahar bombed, killing his stepfather and son.
Such were the events back when the United States was serious about winning a war on terror. The remaining years of the Bush presidency saw the noble aims of that war waver, from a withering willingness to militarily defeat the enemy to the collapsed energy of the American people to fight that enemy.
As U.S. will eroded, Mullah Omar spent 2007 stepping up suicide attacks designed to dispirit anyone fighting for democracy and self-determination for Afghanistan. Then, in 2008, America elected a President who would hasten the day when the Taliban could see clear sailing toward regaining power in that nation and elsewhere.
Abandoning any remaining shreds of a victory strategy, Barack Obama spoke only of an exit strategy, giving dates certain for American withdrawal to Mullah Omar, the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the remaining rogues’ gallery of terror groups.
The era of America as a force for hope in the Middle East was over, or at least on extended hold. Motivated only by the desire to please his fan base by yanking troops out of the region, President Obama extinguished the head-fake of the Afghan surge and returned to form, speaking wistfully about “ending the war responsibly,” with no regard for the fact that our terrorist enemies were planning no such cease-fire.
Mullah Omar had to draw enormous satisfaction from another growing trend in America— the erosion of our will to even recognize the enemy and identify it by name. As political correctness rushed to slap labels of Islamophobia on various attempts to cling to clarity in wartime, even a confirmed converted jihadist could rise through the ranks of the U.S. Army and mow down his fellow soldiers in cold blood at Fort Hood while proclaiming “Allahu akhbar.”
We then saw an American government eager to characterize this as “workplace violence” while we learned of a military culture threatening punishment for anyone who dared identify the warning signs of an actual terrorist in uniform.