Americans don’t get the point. President Obama occasionally gives indications that he may get the point, but often then moves in the opposite direction. What’s the point? Al Qaeda is not going away. The terror group has much larger support in the Islamic world than most observers are willing to acknowledge, and we are at war.
Various opinions offered in the mainstream media in the past few weeks reveal that a broad cross-section of Americans remain clueless or intentionally resistant to this obvious truth. For example, in a blog in the Atlanta Constitution, Bob Barr calls criticism of President Obama and the federal national security failures “asinine.” Bob Herbert of the New York Times categorizes attention paid to Umar the Underwear Bomber as “trivial.” Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek and CNN criticizes Washington for its “overreaction” to Al Qaeda's latest efforts to attack American air travel.
To note the seriousness of the threat not only to America but to Western life, take note of just three facts:
* 80 Muslim males between the ages of 20 and 39 were charged, convicted, or sentenced on terror charges in America in 2009 alone. That is some 8 years after September 11. Islam, whose adherents make up just 0.6% of the American population, has a remarkable propensity for producing young terrorist males.
* According to thereligionofpeace.com, last week brought the world 45 terror attacks, with 198 persons killed and 712 critically injured in those attacks.
* A recent poll found that 40 percent of British Muslims would like to live under Sharia and that 20 percent sympathize with their 7/7 subway bombers. Keep in mind that Great Britain is hardly the capital of Islamic extremism, so finding such high numbers in a Western society should disturb us.
These simple facts beg the question: do Americans really understand that we are in what George W. Bush called a “forever war”? President Obama at least acknowledged as much in his remarks on January 7 as he called for improvements in the intelligence realm. However, his perturbed voice and demeanor in making those remarks, and his behavior in Hawaii after learning of Umar the Underwear Bomber's failed terror assault, raise questions about whether he merely sees Islamic terror as an annoying distraction from his primary desire to overhaul health care. And in the weeks since Ft. Hood, he still fails to reveal any information or insight gained from the investigation he so adamantly requested we review before “jumping to conclusions” regarding the Islamic terror massacre that occurred on our own military base.
With that in mind, here are seven steps for security sanity:
Step 1: Get your nose out of health care
Major in the majors. You are the Commander-in-Chief. This IS your job, not merely a part of it. Like a wide receiver who takes his eye off the ball to look at defenders rapidly approaching him, you are dropping the ball.
Step 2: Fire Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security
There is no one in America who still believes she has any idea what she is doing. She is clearly under-equipped for the scope and gravity of the role. It is time to move on.
Step 3: Privatize airport security. Close TSA
Cameras that do not work and guards not at their posts in Newark. Failures pile up across the country. Simple question: if you had to get a package somewhere tomorrow, in whom would you choose to trust: UPS or the USPO? If your job and your mortgage depended on it, whom would you choose? You would choose a private firm, UPS, of course. Case closed.
Leiter does not return to the counter-terror command center for days after Umar's failed attack. Leiter instead chooses to continue skiing. Skiing. John Brennan goes on national television and actually claims that, even though we are trying Umar as a criminal, we can still get valuable information from him by offering a plea deal. We are offering plea deals to terrorists now? Are we at war or not? You have said we are. Ditch these two, and hire leaders with seriousness of purpose and clarity of mission.
Step 5: Give it up on closing Gitmo.
You have never made your case that Gitmo is a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. You state it as if your saying it means that it is fact. Al Qaeda has an encyclopedia of reasons it hates America. Gitmo makes no difference. Releasing detainees to Yemen does. We released six to Yemen in the week before Christmas alone. Gitmo should not be a personnel supply line for terror. The more we release detainees around the world, the more it becomes just that. Stop the absurd theater, leave Gitmo alone, and fight the war.
Step 6: Meet with Dick Cheney
Jonathan Alter has suggested this, and he is right. In your petty back-and-forthing, Mr.. President, you both are diminishing the country and yourself, not to mention your leadership capacities. Air it out in private. You are willing to meet with Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and nearly everyone else. Meet with Cheney and reach an armistice of public criticism. It really is unbecoming.