This argument has been going on for years. We have addressed it here many times. What Obama’s approach essentially amounts to is an attempt to pretend that things are other than what they are. As such, Obama’s approach is doomed to fail. “Obama at odds with Petraeus doctrine on ‘Islam,'” by Rowan Scarborough in the Washington Times, July 11 (thanks to all who sent this in):
The White House’s official policy of banning the word “Islam” in describing America’s terrorist enemies is in direct conflict with the U.S. military’s war-fighting doctrine now guiding commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.
John O. Brennan, President Obama’s chief national security adviser for counterterrorism, delivered a major policy address on defining the enemy. He laid out the White House policy of detaching any reference to Islam when referring to terrorists, be it al Qaeda, the Taliban or any other group.
But Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the man tapped by Mr. Obama as the new top commander in Afghanistan, led the production of an extensive counterinsurgency manual in December 2006 that does, in fact, tell commanders of a link between Islam and extremists.
The Petraeus doctrine refers to “Islamic insurgents,” “Islamic extremists” and “Islamic subversives.” It details ties between Muslim support groups and terrorists. His co-author was Gen. James F. Amos, whom Mr. Obama has picked as the next Marine Corps commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member.
Mr. Brennan on May 26 told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that “describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism, that the United States is somehow at war against Islam. The reality, of course, is that we have never been and will never be at war with Islam. After all, Islam, like so many faiths, is part of America.”
In a speech that also severed the Obama administration from President George W. Bush’s “war on terror,” Mr. Brennan also said: “The president’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face. Our enemy is not terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic. Our enemy is not terror because terror is a state of mind and, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear. Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself of one’s community.”
Asked about the discrepancy between the White House policy and the military’s counterinsurgency doctrine, Michael Hammer, Mr. Brennan’s spokesman, said “We don’t have anything to add to John’s speech.”
Larry Korb, a military analyst at the Center for American Progress, said Mr. Brennan is correct to avoid linking Islam to terrorism.
“Once you attach a religious thing, you’re basically saying somehow or other this is caused by the religion,” Mr. Korb said. “Most Muslims are not that way.”
He added, “If you put that term [Islamic terrorist] on there, it causes you more problems in the long run. You don’t want to see this as a war on quote unquote the Muslim world. If I took a look at all the people, for example, who killed abortion doctors and I said they’re Christian terrorists, or something like that, and they are all who have done that. That is their interpretation of the Bible. But most people are not. Some of these people will quote the Bible and say I had to go after this doctor because he’s killing innocents.”
Over 15,000 Islamic jihad attacks since 9/11. Half a dozen abortionists killed. No mainstream Christian sect endorses murdering abortionists. No Islamic school of jurisprudence doesn’t teach jihad and Islamic supremacism.
Asked how to define the enemy, Mr. Korb answered, “Al Qaeda. That’s what we went in there for.”
Mr. Brennan said that describing the enemy as Islamists “would actually be counterproductive. It would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims.”…
But of course, they portray themselves as religious leaders defending a holy cause, and they are widely perceived as such among Muslims, and have Islamic texts and teachings to establish their case. Is it really wise to pretend that that isn’t the case?
The Petraeus counterinsurgency manual takes the position that, to understand the enemy, commanders must recognize terrorist links to Islam — its leaders in some cases, its fundraising and its infrastructure. Forces must fight “Islamic extremists,” it says, differently from the Viet Cong or followers of Saddam Hussein.
“Islamic extremists use perceived threats to their religion by outsiders to mobilize support for their insurgency and justify terrorist tactics,” the manual states.
In a section on the ideological source for Islamic terrorists, the doctrine says, “For many Muslims, the Caliphate produces a positive image of the golden age of Islamic civilization. This image mobilizes support for al Qaeda among some of the most traditional Muslims while concealing the details of the movement’s goal. In fact, al Qaeda’s leaders envision the ‘restored Caliphate’ as a totalitarian state similar to the pre-2002 Taliban regime in Afghanistan.”
The manual also discusses support networks for “Islamic extremists:”
“A feature of today’s operational environment deserving mention is the effort by Islamic extremists, including those that advocate violence, to spread their influence through the funding and use of entities that share their views or facilitate them to varying degrees. These entities may or may not be threats themselves; however, they can provide passive or active support to local or distant insurgencies.”
Among these support groups, it says, are “religious schools and mosques.” […]
That is simply and demonstrably true. What advantage do we gain by ignoring it?
“If it’s not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are,” Muneer Fareed, who then headed the Islamic Society of North America, told The Washington Times….
ISNA has links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mr. Brennan, in a June 24 meeting with reporters and editors of The Times, said that the administration’s goal of not describing al Qaeda and its allies in Islamic terms is aimed at denying them legitimacy.
A 2008 U.S. Central Command “Red Team” report, or contrarian analysis, warned that divorcing Islam from jihadist terrorism is a mistake.
“The sources of Islam (Quran, Hadith, Shariah) claim divine origin and include a large body of Islamic jurisprudence on warfare that is detailed, instructive and directive,” the report said. “A balanced, intellectually critical approach must be taken in order to deconstruct the prime underpinnings and language of the concept of jihad, which rest firmly in the sources of Islam and not solely as contrivances within the criminal minds of a small number of violent extremists.”