A White House's characterization Wednesday of the Taliban as an "armed insurgency" rather radical Islamic terrorists is another example of the Obama administration's failure to grasp the gravity of the situation, retired Army Col. Derek Harvey said Thursday on Newsmax TV's
"It is very dangerous because it continues to show that there's intellectual dishonesty by the administration," said Harvey, who was joined by former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik to discuss the Obama administration's paralysis in dealing with terror groups.
"They refuse to define the threat and importantly, it seems that they don't understand the threat. Words do matter.
"The Taliban is an insurgency, it's a terrorist organization that is interlinked with al-Qaida, for that matter, ISIS is an insurgency too, but it's also a terrorist organization. They are splitting hairs and they're being intellectually dishonest," Harvey said.
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The Taliban has been recognized as a terrorist organization since 9/11, Kerik added.
"That's the reason we went into Afghanistan," he said. "I don't know what he was thinking. I don't know why he was trying to split the two."
Until the Obama administration clearly identifies who the enemy is, there can be no effective strategy
or resolution to eradicate them, according to Kerik.
"Whether you call it ISIS or ISIL or al-Qaida or the Taliban or Hamas or Hezbollah, there's 50 different names that I can think of right now relating to radical Muslim extremist that want the demise of this country and Israel and others that live in freedom, others that practice Christianity," Kerik said.
"Until we realize who the enemy is and we become offensive against that enemy in a very, very broad range, we're not going to be able to win this war."
The men also weighed in on recent comments made by retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief, who told a group of defense industry workers that the administration is running scared from the Islamic State instead of unleashing an all-out assault to rid the world of the extremists.
"You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists," Flynn said
, referring to the administration's refusal to use the phrase "Islamic militants" when referring to jihadists.
"Mike Flynn is an American hero," Harvey said. "He understand the enemy and the fight we're in better than anybody I know in the United States. He was not listened to by this administration, his cautions about ISIS and other things were not paid attention to.
"We need to be clear with the American people about the type of fight we're in, who we're fighting and why it matters.
"We need to define American interests and we need to organize both domestically and internationally to lead the fight and bring to bear the American power because it matters," Harvey said. "We need to model this effort similar to what Ronald Reagan set in place in the Cold War. The prescription does work and it is appropriate."
President Obama and his advisers need to look at the big picture and heed the warnings about Muslim extremists, including Iran, from U.S. allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Harvey said.
"They understand the threats in that part of the world and they understand that Iran is a threat
," he said. "Somehow we're in denial in this country about the nature of the threat both from Iran and our failure to identify the Islamic hardcore extremist threat."
Kerik agreed, cautioning that if the U.S. doesn't react to the warnings already given, "we're never going to get it and we're going to be responding to this stuff forever.
"At some point and time, we have to get offensive, we have to be proactive and pre-emptive in fighting the fight and being prepared in this country for the battle we face, which is going to be decades to come," he said.
"This isn't going to go away no time soon."
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