With Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s recent response to the apparent ISIS-inspired atrocity that left 49 Americans dead and 53 wounded, it has become patently obvious that the Obama administration is wedded to its Orwellian version of reality — which bears little if any resemblance to the truth.
The Department of Justice tried to censor and doctor the official transcripts of attacker Omar Mateen’s phone calls to the 911 dispatcher from inside the Pulse Club, where the execution-style event occurred this month. First, they tried to delete references to the Islamic State and to the religion of Islam and to the Arabic name of God — Allah. Within hours, however, the fury among Americans who had had enough with a Big Brother-like intrusion upon the reality of the threat to America was so great that the DOJ desperately tried to backpedal. Finally, the full transcripts were released — or, at least what the attorney general referred to as the full transcripts.
The U.S. government, at the highest level, has been penetrated by a false belief about who threatens us and what they wish to achieve.
But, even then, they were unable to speak truthfully to the American people and to inform them about the true nature of the threat that we all face. The word “Allah” — which is clearly what the gunman would have used because we have proof from eyewitness accounts that as he was murdering his fellow Americans he yelled, “Allahu Akbar,” as is so typical of jihadists — was redacted and instead replaced with the word “God” in an attempt to whitewash or give the impression that this isn’t an attack motivated and inspired by any kind of Islamic ideological narrative.
The fact is, though, that this isn’t a one-off occurrence. What happened at the highest level of U.S. government, at a cabinet level, is in fact simply the most egregious instance of something that has been occurring within the U.S. government for many, many years. In 2011, the White House issued an unclassified memo to the then-attorney general and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, America’s most senior military officer, which demanded that all counterterrorism training in federal government — that means all counterterrorism training to our armed services and federal law enforcement, including the FBI — was to be scrubbed, made politically correct. Any mention of religion, but specifically Islam, was to be removed. And especially any word such as “jihad” had to be excised from training materials.
Additionally, the roster of trainers used by the U.S. government had to be inspected and scrubbed of anybody who dared speak about the jihadi motivations of people such as the 9/11 hijackers, the Fort Hood shooter, or killers such as the San Bernardino husband and wife team — and of course Mr. Mateen. This decision led to several individuals who are true experts on the totalitarian ideology of global jihadism losing their jobs or simply being banned from briefing our war fighters and our law enforcement and intelligence agents. As a result, America is less safe.
The motivation for this censorship derives, in fact, from an ideological belief system. It is driven by the worldview of our political leaders, especially those politically appointed officials in the National Security Council and at the highest levels of the Department of Justice. These individuals are incapable of believing or admitting to themselves that not all cultures are equal and that religion can in fact be used to justify mass murder.
Let me correct myself. They are prepared to believe that Christianity can be used to justify horrific acts, as we have seen again and again with speeches by the president himself. But they refuse to believe that Islam, for some peculiar reason, is capable of being exploited in this fashion. As a result they have generated a threat assessment by which they believe that all terrorism is the result of poverty or lack of education. It cannot be the result of someone believing that they are doing what they do for the sake of Allah.
If censorship of this kind had occurred during previous standoffs with totalitarian enemies, such as the Nazis or the Communists, the people responsible would have been laughed at, or, more seriously, been fired or court-martialed. In the last 7.5 years, the U.S. government, at the highest level, has been penetrated by a false belief about who threatens us and what they wish to achieve. As a result, we are all in greater danger than we were when President Obama took office.
After the Orlando atrocity, President Obama gave a press conference, which one could charitably describe as petulant, in which he expressed greater anger toward Donald Trump, pro-Second Amendment groups such as the NRA, and the Republican Party than he did against the global jihadi movement or even Mr. Mateen. Why is this anger directed in the wrong direction? Because, if the President spoke truthfully about what drives people like the Tsarnaev brothers or the Orlando attacker, he would have to admit that the last 7.5 years of American counterterrorism policy has been a failure.
And this isn’t just one author’s opinion. Recently, Duke University published a report entitled “Muslim-American Involvement in Violent Extremism — 2015”. The first figure in that report tells you everything you need to know. Since September 11, 2001, 2015 saw the highest incidents of jihadi violence on U.S. soil. I repeat, last year saw the highest incidents of jihadi violence on U.S. soil. That means we are losing this war. It is time for a new strategy. It is time to speak truthfully about the enemy.
Unfortunately, it is very, very unlikely that this will happen in the last few months of this administration. Now we can only pray that the next commander-in-chief will not try to censor reality, but will describe our enemy for what they truly are — evil incarnate — and will take the war to them with our Sunni allies in the Middle East and eventually crush this enemy that is potentially more dangerous than any other totalitarian foe we have ever faced before.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University and author of the New York Times bestselling book “Defeating Jihad.” You can follow him on Twitter @SebGorka.