It is unusual that a left-wing organization like Politico would publish an article like this, since liberal Democrats tend to excuse the savagery of Islam while condemning non-existent threats from Christians, let alone giving a platform to Newt Gingrich to make this argument. Newt is not one of my favorites, but when he is right, he is most articulate.
In defense of Michele Bachmann, Muslim Brotherhood probes
By: Newt Gingrich July 29, 2012 Politico
The recent assault on the National Security Five is only the most recent example of the fear our elites have about discussing and understanding radical Islamists.
When an orchestrated assault is launched on the right to ask questions in an effort to stop members of Congress from even inquiring about a topic — you know the fix is in.
The intensity of the attack on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as well as Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia is a reminder of how desperate our elites are to avoid this discussion. Yet consider this rush to silence questions in light of our history of unpleasant surprises during the Cold War.
Given all the painful things we learn about people every day and the surprises that shock even the experts (the head of the FBI anti-spy effort was a Russian spy, for example), you have to wonder why people would aggressively assert we shouldn’t ask about national security concerns.
Remember the shock in 2001 when we learned that FBI agent Robert Hanssen had been spying for 22 years — first for the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation. This disaster came just seven years after the 1994 arrest of Aldrich Ames, a CIA counterintelligence officer who was a Soviet spy for eight years.
Why should we assume we’re in better shape today, when political correctness is passionately opposed to tough counterintelligence screening? It’s as though our leaders have forgotten every lesson of the 1930s about fascism, Nazism and communism and every lesson from 1945 to 1991 about communism.
We have replaced tough mindedness about national security with a refusal to think seriously and substituted political correctness and a “solid” assurance that people must be OK because they are “nice” and “hard working” for the systematic, intense investigations of the past.
I’m not suggesting that our primary threat is espionage. Our greatest problem is getting the wrong analysis, advice and policy proposals. It is the bias of the advisers and the disastrous policies they propose that are our gravest danger at this stage of the long struggle with radical Islamists.
Our elites refuse to even consider that the advice they are getting is biased, tainted, distorted — or just plain wrong.
The underlying driving force behind this desperate desire to stop unpleasant questions is the elite’s fear that an honest discussion of radical Islamism will spin out of control. They fear if Americans fully understood how serious radical Islamists are, they would demand a more confrontational strategy.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned last week, “The West is asleep on this issue.” Islamist extremists, Blair asserted in an interview with The Telegraph, seek “supremacy, not coexistence.”
A young John F. Kennedy wrote “Why England Slept” to try to understand how the leadership of a nation could ignore, repress and reject warnings about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
A future JFK may write “Why Washington Slept” to explain our current period. The case of the National Security Five would be a good chapter on the desperation of the elites to avoid reality and their determination to smother any wake-up call, which might make them come to grips with Blair’s warning.
This desperate avoidance of reality is not new. After Maj. Nidal Hasan shouted, “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) in Fort Hood, Texas, and killed 12 soldiers and one Army civilian while wounding 29 others, there was pressure to avoid confronting his acts as inspired by his support for radical Islamism.
An American of Palestinian descent, Hasan had been in touch with a radical American cleric in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki. He declared Hasan a hero. Al-Awlaki was himself declared a “specially designated global terrorist” and, with presidential approval, was killed by a predator missile.
Yet, despite the evidence, Wikipedia reports, “One year after the Fort Hood shooting, the motivations of the perpetrator were not yet established.”
It did offer suggestions about motivation, however. For example, “A review of Hasan’s computer and his multiple email accounts has revealed visits to websites espousing radical Islamist ideas.” Talking about Islam, he said, “Nonbelievers would be sent to Hell, decapitated, set on fire and have burning oil poured down their throats.”
A rational person would have some hints about what motivated a terrorist killing spree.
If even Wikipedia could reach some conclusion about motivation, you would think the national security system could do the same. Not so.
The Defense Department official report instead focused on Hasan’s actions as though they were “workplace violence” rather than terrorism. President Barack Obama, in his speech at Fort Hood, described the attack as “incomprehensible.”
Despite every effort by our enemies to communicate why they hate us and why they want to replace our world with theirs, our leaders find their motives “incomprehensible.” Clearly, Obama hasn’t understood Blair’s warning.
An even more bizarre example of ignoring reality was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initial response to news that a car bomb had been found in Times Square. Bloomberg is mayor of the city attacked on Sept. 11 — so did he shrewdly identify the probable perpetrator? Of course not.
Bloomberg opined it was a “homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged, person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something. It could be anything.”
Just as Bloomberg was desperately avoiding blaming radical Islamists, the New York Police Department noted the similarities to a 2007 jihadist car bombing in London. A Taliban video from Pakistan claimed responsibility for the car bomb. The person being looked for was a U.S.-naturalized citizen from Pakistan.
Given that evidence, Bloomberg’s will to hide from the truth illustrates the challenge that the National Security Five face in raising appropriate and even frightening questions.
The case of the Pakistani-American car bomber has yet another lesson for those willing to learn it. At his sentencing, Faisal Shahzad asserted, “If I’m given 1,000 lives, I will sacrifice them all for the life of Allah.” He had apparently planned to build another car bomb in the next two weeks. The Pakistan Taliban had given him $15,000 and five days of explosive training just months after he became a U.S. citizen.
As Fox News reported: “The judge cut him off at one point to ask him if he had sworn allegiance to the United States when he became a citizen last year. ‘I did swear’ Shahzad answered, ‘but I did not mean it.’”
Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum clearly understood the threat. She stated in sentencing: “The defendant has repeatedly expressed his total lack of remorse and his desire, if given the opportunity, to repeat the crime.”
Shahzad was not some desperate representative of poverty or repression. His father had been vice chief of the Pakistani Air Force.
This was the bomber Bloomberg was confused about.
The reaction to the National Security Five and their request for investigations by the inspectors general must be seen in this context of willful avoidance and denial.
In fact, there is a good deal in the Obama administration’s national security and foreign policy to ask about. One theme of the inspectors general letters is the administration’s courting of individuals viewed as leaders by the U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood. A recent terrorist finance trial produced 80 boxes of evidence related to the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood network in North America over the past 40 years.
Unlike the Cold War, the primary focus of concern in government today is not espionage but influence. In the Cold War, there was value to learning secrets. The right spy at the right place could give one side or the other a big advantage.
This long war with radical Islamists is a very different struggle. There are many nuances and long-term developments. Much of the struggle involves ideas and language alien to most American leaders and unknown even to most of the State or Defense Department professionals.
So the right or wrong adviser can be enormously powerful. Getting the right advice can be everything.
Therefore, whose advice we rely on becomes central to national security. Asking who the advisers are, what their prejudices are and what advice they give is a legitimate — indeed, essential — part of any serious national security system.
It was this question that the National Security Five focused on. They were right to do so and it weakens national security for them to be attacked for simply asking basic questions.
One clear example of the Obama administration’s indefensible bias is its decision to co-sponsor the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which explicitly excluded Israel.
Launched on Sept. 22, 2011, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, this forum brought together 29 countries and the European Union. Yet it excluded the country that has been the most frequently attacked and has the most experience defeating terrorism.
On June 7, 2012, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) condemned the U.S. government for giving in to demands to exclude Israel.
To make matters worse, Maria Otero, the undersecretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights, gave a speech “in which she notably failed to mention Israel and Israelis as victims of terrorism.”
Isn’t it legitimate to ask: Who advised Clinton to launch a counterterrorism initiative that excluded Israel?
Isn’t it also legitimate to ask: Who advised Otero to give a major speech on terrorism and ignore the attacks on Israel and Israelis?
The anti-Israeli bias in the Obama administration shows up in strange ways. Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard reported in August 2011 that the “White House has apparently gone through its website, cleansing any reference to Jerusalem being in Israel.”
It seems the Obama administration even went back to public documents from earlier administrations to pretend this White House’s rejection of Jerusalem as part of Israel had been prior administrations’ policies. This is the Orwellian nature of the Obama system.
Its hostility to the city of David being considered Israel’s capital was displayed as recently as Thursday in the following colloquy between reporters and Jay Carney, White House press secretary:
Reporter: “What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel? Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?”
Carney: “Um … I haven’t had that question in a while. Our position has not changed. Can we, uh …”
Reporter: “What is the capital [of Israel]?”
Carney: “You know our position.”
Reporter: “I don’t.”
Lester Kinsolving, World Net Daily: “No, no. She doesn’t know, that’s why she asked.”
Carney: “She does know.”
Reporter: “I don’t.”
Kinsolving: “She does not know. She just said that she does not know. I don’t know.”
Carney: “We have long, let’s not call on …”
Kinsolving: “Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?”
Carney: “You know the answer to that.”
Kinsolving: “I don’t know the answer. We don’t know the answer. Could you just give us an answer? What do you recognize? What does the administration recognize?”
Carney: “Our position has not changed.”
Kinsolving: “What position?”
Carney then moved on to another question.
Isn’t it legitimate to ask: Who advised the Obama administration to erase Jerusalem from Israel?
Isn’t it fair to ask: Who went back and forged public documents and who told them to do it?
Another example of these legitimate questions, consider the strange case of Louay Safi.
Safi ran the Islamic Society of North America (an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas financing case) and who was himself an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami Al-Arian terrorism case (involving Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist org). As Andy McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor in terrorism cases, explained, “So what happens? Pentagon hires him as expert to teach Islam to our troops before they deploy from Fort Hood! And now, of course, he is the leader of the [Muslim] Brotherhoods’ government-in-waiting for Syria. You just can’t make this stuff up!”
Isn’t it appropriate to ask: Who were the Muslim chaplains approved by this extremist? How did he get chosen to be in such a key position? What system of checking for extremism broke down so badly, or is so biased, that it allowed members and allies of radical Islamist organizations to play key roles in the U.S. government?
Part of the reaction to the National Security Five raising questions about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood has come from a deliberate effort to deny the importance and the radicalism of the Muslim Brotherhood as a worldwide network.
The level of self-deception necessary to misunderstand the Muslim Brotherhood verges on a psychosis.
The organization’s motto is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
Our elites discount all these words — and refuse to take them seriously.
Yet doesn’t the lesson of Munich in 1972, New York City on Sept. 11, Hasan at Fort Hood, the Times Square car bomber, the bombings in Iraq this week — the list is endless — show that these words matter?
Consider clause seven of one branch of the Muslim Brotherhood — Hamas.
Perhaps no one in our elites wants to read the Hamas Charter’s clause seven because it is too horrifying. Consider: ”The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind the stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Apologists for Hamas insist this clause has no meaning. But the Hamas leaders claim they cannot remove it from their charter.
The Muslim Brotherhood, in a 1991 document called the “Explanatory Memorandum,” explained to its own supporters that its goal was “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western Civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
This memo cited 29 different allied groups, including the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Students Association and the Islamic Association of Palestine. Leaders in some of these allied groups founded the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Just Friday, the Dubai chief of police warned about a Muslim Brotherhood effort to take over the emirates and seize their oil and natural gas wealth.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a serious worldwide organization dedicated to a future most Americans would find appalling. Seeking to understand its reach and its impact on the U.S. government is a legitimate, indeed essential, part of our national security process.
The National Security Five were doing their duty in asking difficult questions designed to make America safer. Their critics represent the kind of willful blindness that increasingly puts America at risk.
If we do not want a book to describe “Why Washington Slept,” we will have to encourage elected officials to follow the advice of a later Kennedy book and exhibit “Profiles in Courage.”
Bachmann, Franks, Gohmert, Rooney and Westmoreland are showing a lot more courage than the defenders of timidity, complicity and passivity.
Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is a former speaker of the House.
Labels: Liberals and Conservatives, War on Islamic Terrorism