The new National Security Strategy released by the Obama White House last month refuses to recognize that our nation is at war with violent Islamist extremism, according to Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
The Independent Democrat from Connecticut writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the 2006 National Security Strategy correctly identified America’s enemy as transnational terrorists who “exploit the proud religion of Islam to serve a violent political vision.” The new Security Strategy omits that statement.
The administration is wrong to eschew those words and the term “violent Islamist extremism” and instead use “violent extremism,” which is too broad and includes elements that are not at war with the U.S., Lieberman notes.
Administration officials would argue that the term “violent Islamist extremism” bolsters our enemy’s propaganda assertion that the West is at war with Islam, but that logic is “completely unsound,” Lieberman declares.
“Muslims in fact understand better than anyone else the enormous difference between their faith and the terrorist political ideology that has exploited it . . .
“We must encourage and empower the non-violent Muslim majority to raise their voices to condemn the Islamist extremist ideology as a desecration of Islam.”
The White House is also wrong to identify America’s enemy in the war on terror as simply al-Qaida and its affiliates, Lieberman states.
“Defining the enemy by reference to al-Qaida implies that this war in primarily about destroying an organization, rather than defeating a broader political ideology. This war will not end when al-Qaida has been vanquished . . . but only when the ideology of violent Islamist extremism that inspires and predates it is decisively rejected. That ideology motivates many other groups and individuals . . .
“We must recognize the nature of the fight we are in, not paper it over.”
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