President Obama’s Bizarre Reluctance to Confront Islamist Terrorism
On the day after the Boston bombings, President Obama addressed the nation and labeled the attacks an act of terror.
“Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror,” he said.
This was a step forward for a president who has avoided the use of the word “terror” for years. His administration even banned the term “war on terror.”
As the investigation into the Boston bombings continues, it remains to be seen whether the administration will be willing to acknowledge the radical Islamist ideology that apparently inspired the two brothers who carried out the atrocity in Boston.
For years the president avoided the use of the word “terror” whenever radicals threatened Americans with attacks. It was a consistent pattern throughout his first term in office.
There was the Ft. Hood shooting in Texas in November of 2009. Then there was the underwear bomber who attempted to blow up a plane in Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. There was the attempted bombing in Times Square in May of 2010.
The administration usually characterized these terror attacks as isolated incidents instigated by so-called “extremists.” Off-limits were such terms as Islamist or Jihad.
The president was not so reluctant to avoid discussing radical terrorists when Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May 2011. Then he was quick to grab the spotlight as the president who took out the leader of Al Qaeda.
Obama returned to form in September of 2012 when terrorists attacked American facilities in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador. Then the administration launched a large-scale cover up after the president made a passing reference to terror the day after the attacks.
Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post columnist and Fox News commentator, says the idea of Obama avoiding words like Islamist and jihadist is an embarrassment.
“I say I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I sure know what he’s saying and doing,” Krauthammer said on Fox. “The lengths to which he will go to avoid telling us the truth about the enemy is becoming comical and certainly embarrassing.”
Krauthammer pointed out that use of the term Islamist is common throughout the Muslim world.
“And yet, Obama won’t touch it because he refuses to use any words that might imply a connection between radical Islam and terrorism, which as anybody who is over the age of nine knows is the single greatest cause of terror in the world today,” Krauthammer said.
Krauthammer added that this matters because it is important to be clear about the true nature of the enemy; it is required to mobilize the population and give them the courage to persist in a fight that could last for a generation.
It remains for the president to take the lead and clearly inform the public about the true nature of radical Islam. After Boston, the necessity for such leadership is more urgent than ever.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.