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Terror Rhetoric v. Reality

6:12 PM, May 26, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The state of John “al Quds” Brennan’s rhetoric is strong. Here’s the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser previewing the release Obama’s National Security Strategy, which after much delay will be released tomorrow:

The President’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face. Our enemy is not “terrorism” because terrorism is but a tactic. Our enemy is not “terror” because terror is a state of mind and as Americans we refuse to live in fear. Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant [sic] of Islam, meaning to purify oneself, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Indeed, characterizing our adversaries this way would actually be counterproductive. It would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including of thousands upon thousands of Muslims. This is why Muslim leaders around the world have spoken out—forcefully, and often at great risk to their own lives—to reject al Qaeda and violent extremism. And frankly, their condemnations often do not get the recognition they deserve.

Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie—propagated by al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism—that the United States is somehow at war against Islam. The reality, of course, is that we never have been and will never be at war with Islam. After all, Islam, like so many faiths, is part of America.

Sounds really smart, right? Very nuanced, very Obamaesque. Meanwhile, back on planet earth, there’s disturbing news, suggesting that the White House’s Cairo speech rhetoric might not be changing the hearts and minds of our enemies:

The pace and number of attempted terror attacks against the U.S. over the past nine months has surpassed the number of attempts during any previous one-year period, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security report issued on Friday, May 21.

The report notes chillingly that while US officials "lack insights" they believe that "operatives are in the country and could advance plotting with little or no warning."

The DHS document also warns that both the Northwest 253 and Times Square incidents, like attempts several prior successful and attempted attacks, featured a link between the terror suspects and radical Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki, who was born in the U.S. but is now based in Yemen. The charismatic preacher, called by the report a "violent extremist ideologue," is now the subject of a widely reported manhunt by the US in an effort to kill him.

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