The controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of last month’s killing of four Americans in Libya points to the president’s failure to address Islamist extremism, according to Hudson Institute Senior Fellows Douglas Feith and Seth Cropsey.
“The administration's first response — to blame an American video, not Islamist terrorists —reflected strategic misjudgments,” the two write in The Wall Street Journal
“First is the refusal to accept that the terrorism threat is part of a larger problem of Islamist extremism. And second is the belief that terrorism is spawned not by religious fanaticism but by grievances about social, economic, and other problems for which America bears fault.”
Obama rejected the George W. Bush administration’s war on terrorism, which viewed al-Qaida as part of a diverse international movement of Islamist extremists warring with the United States, say Feith, undersecretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration, and Cropsey, deputy undersecretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The administration has separated al-Qaida from Muslim extremists, which limits U.S. policy, the duo says. “Our problem is substantially broader than al Qaida — and even broader than al Qaida and its affiliates. What all these [terrorist] groups have in common is Islamist ideology — yet Mr. Obama ignores that,” Feith and Cropsey write.
The Obama administration wants to place the blame on the United States. “Thus the way to defeat the terrorists, according to President Obama, isn't to counter extremist Islamist ideology but to focus on how the United States, through its actions and delinquencies — its supposed excessive support for Israel, for example, and failure to provide more economic aid — is to blame for the hatred that spawns terrorism.”
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