Politics

Obama, Clinton Peddle Tone-Deaf Claim of ISIS Retreat

Jihadist attacks on the rise, Democrat nominee ties herself to president's failed counter-terror record

President Obama said Monday that he is grateful that terrorist attacks over the weekend did not cause even more carnage, and insisted that the Islamic State organization is on the run.

The president took no questions from reporters after his brief statement, delivered as police in New Jersey shot and arrested a man accused of planting a bomb that exploded in Manhattan on Saturday night and earlier at a charity run in New Jersey.

“It’s disturbing that we keep hearing from President Obama that we are winning against ISIS when, in fact, ISIS is morphing into a traditional terrorist organization.”

“As we take away more of their territory, it exposes ISIL as the failed cause that it is and it helps to undermine their ideology, which over time will make it harder for them to recruit and inspire people to violence,” said Obama.

But counterterrorism experts said ISIS remains dangerous — perhaps even more so — even as its territorial reach in the Middle East shrinks.

“It’s disturbing that we keep hearing from President Obama that we are winning against ISIS when, in fact, ISIS is morphing into a traditional terrorist organization,” said Fred Fleitz, senior vice president for policy and programs at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

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[lz_table title=”Islamic Terrorism in the U.S. Since 2008″ source=”William Robert Johnston “]Year-Location,Deaths,Injuries
2009 Fort Hood TX,13,44
2010 Austin TX,2,13
2010 Arlington VA,1,2
2010 New York NY,0,0
2013 Boston MA,3,264
2013 Los Angeles CA,1,7
2015 Chattanooga TN,6,2
2015 San Bernardino,16,23
2016 Orlando FL,50,53
2016 Seaside Park NJ,0,0
2016 St. Cloud MN,1,9
2016 New York NY,0,29
Total,93,446
[/lz_table]

Incredibly, in the face of escalating attacks on Americans carried out by Islamic terrorists at home, Hillary Clinton sought to tie her electoral prospects to the terror record of the administration.

“I was part of the national security team that worked with President Obama, developed strategies to fight the terrorists,” Clinton said at a press conference in White Plains, New York, Monday. “Sometimes that involved direct, kinetic action. Sometimes that involved working with allies and partners. Sometimes that involved capture. I won’t get into classified information, but I have sat at that table in the situation room. I’ve analyzed the threats. I’ve contributed to actions that have neutralized our enemies. I know how to do this.”

The choice of identifying her candidacy with the terror record of the administration seems ill-advised for Clinton, since experts and the facts both suggest President Obama has failed to combat the growing threat of Islamic terror.

Fleitz, who has held several national security positions in the government, noted that the CIA has publicly acknowledged that ISIS has the capacity to carry out terrorist attacks. He said it is true that ISIS has lost ground in Iraq.

“That doesn’t mean that it’s a weaker organization,” he said.

[lz_graphiq id=bQQJgTu6J8N]

A February report by the University of North Carolina’s Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security indicates that 2015 was the worst year for Islamic terrorism involving Americans since the 9/11 attacks. Last year, 81 American Muslims were associated with violent extremist plots, according to the report.

Of that total, 22 people traveled to join militant groups in Syria, and another 23 tried to. Others tried to join groups in Pakistan and Somalia. And 29 Muslims were associated with plots against targets in the United States, according to the report.

The number of American Muslims involved in terrorism has increased every year since 2012, the low point of Obama’s presidency. Sebastian Gorka, vice president and professor of strategy and irregular warfare at the Institute of World Politics, said the United States is not having great success at home or abroad.

“You just have to look at the facts. The facts are incontrovertible,” he said, noting that 111 people linked to Islamic terrorism have been killed or captured in the United States over the last two years. “The threat is escalating. The administration keeps talking about this international coalition of 62 nations. It’s a myth. It’s fantasy … We are losing this war.”

[lz_jwplayer video= “r7NVahaW” ads=”true”]

Fleitz said the administration cannot defeat ISIS in its home base of Syria without committing large numbers of ground troops. And he predicted a recent deal with Russia would fail because that country’s president, Vladimir Putin, is interested in propping up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

“There’s no prospect of wiping ISIS out of Syria,” Fleitz said.

On the home front, Gorka noted that the incidents In New York and New Jersey involved a total of 11 explosive devices in a 24-hour period.

“That’s a Middle East rate of terrorism,” he said.

Gorka and Fleitz both said it is vital to take a more proactive approach to discovering and stopping terrorist plots. Fleitz said the government needs to do a better job enlisting Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement officials and pressure or replace mosque leaders who “incubate” terrorism with extremist rhetoric.

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“We have to have a much more aggressive effort online,” Fleitz said.

Gorka, author of “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War,” said it is a mistake to conclude that ISIS is turning to terrorism out of desperation because it has lost territory. The group has always had a multi-front approach to its goals and is intent on pursuing “classic guerrilla warfare” on U.S. soil.

“We’re measuring them by the wrong metric,” he said.

Gorka called on authorities to resurrect and expand counterterrorism programs like the one in the New York City Police Department that Mayor Bill de Blasio has been dismantling.

“You got to find these guys in their local communities before they build the pipe bombs,” he said.

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