Lanterns: Trump Admin. Plays “Guess Who's the Enemy” at 9/11 Remembrance

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Trump Admin. Plays “Guess Who's the Enemy” at 9/11 Remembrance

It’s pretty hard for a president whose signature campaign phrase was “radical Islamic terror" —a phrase he used countless times—to get through a 9/11 commemorative speech without once using the words “Islam” or “Islamic.”

But President Trump managed to do it, as did his top brass: Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis and Attorney General Sessions. All of them used every term possible to keep America guessing just whom they were talking about when describing the murderers of thousands in the heart of New York City. That’s particularly egregious because we face the very same foe today, from without and within our nation.

Trump is not the first president to conceal our would-be conquerors

There’s a history of presidents protecting this enemy from the American people, rather than the other way around. President George W. Bush had executed a comparable feat only six days after the event in question. On September 17, 2001, shoeless, facing TV cameras at the Islamic Center of Washington, he told a devastated nation that “Islam is peace.” He stood next to the likes of Nihad Awad, a longtime advocate for Hamas and the executive director of CAIR.

President Bush was the first to purge his government of words about Islam:

From an NBC report of an April 24, 2008, AP article:

Federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too.
U.S. officials may be "unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims," says a Homeland Security report. It's entitled "Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims."

Obama did far more, scrubbing Islam-linked words from the very agencies sworn to protect us, like the FBI. That was with the cooperation of then-director Robert Mueller, who later told Congress that political correctness had nothing to do with it.

But Trump was elected because he seemed to be different: he scorned PC, called out radical Islam and its apologists.

A puzzling commemoration of 9/11

Investigative journalist Aaron Klein reported that at this year’s 9/11 remembrance, President Trump referred to the 9/11 terrorists with a host of epithets, but not “Islamic terrorists”:

Instead of naming the enemy, Trump seemingly went out of his way to use other descriptors in his speech, including “terrorists who attacked us,” “barbaric forces of evil and destruction,” “horrible, horrible enemies,” “enemies of all civilized people,” and “enemies like we’ve never seen before.”

Similarly, wrote Klein:

Pence, speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, referred to the scourge as “evil terrorists” and “global terrorism.” Pence did mention “the barbarians known as ISIS,” calling the global jihadist group by its acronym instead of the Islamic State.

Mattis called them “maniacs disguised in false religious garb,” not even using the words terror or terrorism. The group’s only true conservative, AG Sessions, came closest to naming the enemy; he called them:

Enemies [who] seek nothing less than the end of our culture—of free speech, freedom of religion, and our democratic republic.
They seek to impose their speech codes, their religion, their theocracy. For these extremists, it's more than religion; it's ideology.

The attorney general also rightly said: “The first and most important job of any government—is to protect the safety and the rights of its citizens…. If we fail at this task, then every other government initiative loses importance.”

If we’ve returned to the Obama strategy of fighting terror by concealing the true nature of the threat—the true nature of Islam—then we are doomed to fail at that task. The reason developing a strategy to deal with Islamic terror has been an utter failure has been that very concealment.

A wartime president must know and name the enemy

What moves a nation to stand up and fight for its very existence? Who holds a saber high and tells the nation: “Charge!”? It is the nation’s leader, who inspires that nation to fight and win. A true leader doesn’t serve up a guess-who enemy to his people. On December 8, 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt did not conceal the identity of the foe, nor its heinous act, and he left no doubt what America would do about it:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory…. With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

Winston Churchill couldn’t have been clearer about the enemy in his commanding speech, June 4, 1940. Before coming to the most memorable lines, he used the words “German” or “Germany” thirteen times. Those eternal lines left no doubt about what Great Britain was going to do and to whom she would do it:

Though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Such words rouse a nation and intimidate an enemy. But we’ve gone from commanding speech to craven speech. Compare these saber-raised speeches to Trump’s desperate struggle to avoid naming our adversary, even while eulogizing the dead in the worst sneak attack since Pearl Harbor. Who is that enemy? Do we fight him in the Middle East, in France, in New York? We’d never know from Trump’s words and those of his underlings because they’re willfully concealing its identity and its nature.

The real menace

Our foe is not just “horrible, horrible enemies” or “maniacs,” it’s Islam itself. Every terrorist attack has been driven by Islam and has been in the name of Islam. The Religion of Peace website has logged 31,724 “deadly terror attacks” carried out by “Islamic terrorists” since 9/11. That irrevocably binds the words “Islamic” and “terror” together, to any right-thinking American.

But, it’s not just terrorists: The enemy is an alien culture where women are cattle, grown men may marry six-year-olds, fathers may honor-kill daughters. Specifically, we’re talking about the culture in Muslim societies, whose members are being purposefully invited to stream into our country.

That culture is driven by Shariah Law, and by the command of Mohammed to immigrate and spread Shariah everywhere—the Hijra. Certainly, many Muslims are peaceful and do not practice these abominations. But their children are uniquely susceptible to indoctrination on the Internet, or in the mosque.

This is the true menace, that no one will mention. Shariah-observant Islam is inimical to America and to its Constitution. The destruction of Europe through Muslim immigration, though intentionally unreported in America, should be a lesson to American leaders: the real threat is not terrorism; it’s Muslim immigration. In February 2017, President Trump seemed well versed in that lesson; he told a rally in Florida:

We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.

In the wake of Germany’s Chancellor Merkel welcome to over a million Muslim migrants, her country has become a place where women fear to walk alone, and crime is rampant. Though Trump was off citing an incident “last night,” Muslim migration to Sweden has resulted in that country being dubbed “the Rape Capital of the West."

Apparently, that lesson was even clearer to Mr. Trump during his campaign. On December 7, 2015, candidate Trump said something unprecedented on his website, under the heading, DONALD J. TRUMP STATEMENT ON PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION:

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population….
Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

Two months later, Chatham House, the prestigious British think tank, conducted a survey of ten thousand citizens across ten EU countries; the question was: “All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped”: agree or disagree? The results: Unlike their leaders, a majority of Europeans agreed with Trump’s ban. Only in Spain did a tad more than 30% disagree; in seven nations, less than 20% disagreed.

But Mr. Trump may no longer agree with his own policies. Notwithstanding the numerous conservative things he’s done, on America’s security against its greatest threat, he seems to have lost focus. The 9/11 speech is the second speech in which Trump didn't mention radical Islam: his recent Afghanistan speech was another. Sebastian Gorka, in his resignation letter, said:

"The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of “radical Islam” or “radical Islamic terrorism” proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost."

in the previous paragraph, Gorka put the blame on those surrounding the president:

Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will 'Make America Great Again,' have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week.

Remodeling the Trump Doctrine

Gorka was no doubt alluding to  Trump's National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster. The president appointed him to replace General Flynn, who had no compunction in describing Islam as a cancer. General McMaster is quite different: like Hillary Clinton and Obama, he refuses to use the dreaded term. McMaster immediately tried to get Trump to stop using it, at his speech before a joint session of Congress, and later in a speech in Warsaw, Poland. Trump used it anyway, but apparently, he is now internalizing the McMaster narrative.

Along with altering words, McMaster made it his mission to replace all Flynn appointees and conservatives in the NSC with people who are “hostile to Israel, favor the Iran deal, and are weak on, or seek to appease, Islamists,” said Breitbart, quoting an article from the Zionist Organization of America. In short, Obama retreads. A detailed list of the firings and replacements, along with a McMaster dossier are here.

It's difficult to understand why the president would allow McMaster to do that.s

Soon after McMaster’s coming, the Trump Administration decided against designating the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization—something Flynn had backed.

In spite of a storm of criticism from conservative media, Trump doggedly praises McMaster. This abrupt change of philosophy, wrought by an underling who obviously disagrees with the entire Trump platform (see link above) reveals the president to be a man lacking fixed opinions of his own. Or if he has them, they are not tightly moored. That foretells our defeat in the War on Terror if we still have one at all.

On September 15th, at Joint Base Andrews, the president was the old Trump: "I want to say our hearts and prayers go out to the people of London, who suffered a vicious terrorist attack. Radical Islamic terrorism; it will be eradicated, believe me." [Emphasis added.]

It's difficult to tell what's in the man's heart. But some things are immutable: the saying: "personnel is policy" is very much in effect, as is: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." If Trump still believes his campaign policies, he must clean house in the NSC, and man it with people who agree with him.

 

Written by Bob Bennett

Bob Bennett, a NY-based writer, has written op-eds for the WSJ and a cancer medical journal; op-eds and travel pieces for the NY Post and a cover article for the Jewish Press. He has also appeared with his wife on Fox News, discussing Obamacare.

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