A Democratic congressman and Iraq combat veteran from President Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii criticized him this week for failing to recognize the Islamic roots of modern-day terrorism.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who still serves as a captain in the Hawaii National Guard, is the most outspoken Democratic critic of the White House’s refusal to identify extremist Islamic ideology as the justification for terrorism from al-Qaida in the Middle East to Boko Haram in Africa.
Gabbard told Fox News’ Gretta Van Susteren Tuesday that two tours in Iraq showed her that U.S. officials must understand the enemy.
"This is not just about words. It’s not about semantics," she said. "It’s really about having a real, true understanding of who our enemy is and how important that is, that we have to understand what their motivation is and what their ideology is — the radical Islamic ideology that is fueling them."
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— a member of the House Defense, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees — also dismissed comments from Secretary of State John Kerry, who claimed that terrorists engage in "criminal conduct rooted in alienation, poverty, thrill-seeking and other factors."
Gabbard responded, "If that’s really the cause, then the solution would be just to give them a trophy, give them a hug, give them a good-paying job, $10,000, and a skateboard so they can go and get their thrills and say, ‘OK, great, they are going to be happy and they won’t be fighting anymore.’ That’s not the case."
Her comments followed testimony Monday from the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who also criticized the government for failing to recognize Islamic terrorism.
"You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists," retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told a defense industry conference in Washington, the Daily Beast reported.
He added that top government officials are "paralyzed" by the "complexity" of trying to mount limited counterterrorism operations against a global Islamic terrorist movement.
They "accept a defensive posture, reasoning that passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies," he said.
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