President Obama did his best Tuesday night to convince the nation that under his watch the United States has made progress against the threat of militant Islam.
“No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland,” the president said. While technically true, Obama’s analysis is an exercise in semantics.
“No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.”
As the president himself admitted only moments later, “the most deadly attacks on the homeland over the last eight years have not been carried out by operatives with sophisticated networks or equipment, directed from abroad. They’ve been carried out by homegrown and largely isolated individuals who were radicalized online.”
Of course, what Obama ignores is the fact that said individuals were radicalized online by foreign terrorist organizations. ISIS prioritizes its online recruiting drive. The Islamic terror group issues repeated calls in print and online for its followers in the West to engage in lone-wolf-style attacks.
To insist that the Orlando nightclub shooting, or the San Bernardino massacre, or the Minnesota mall stabbing, or the Ohio State University attack — each and every one carried out by identified followers of ISIS, and then followed by ISIS claiming responsibility — are not the work of a foreign terrorist organization is a supreme example of a distinction without a difference.
Since Obama took office, every Islamic terrorist attack carried out on American soil has been perpetrated by foreign-born Muslim immigrants or their children (Ahmad Rahami, Omar Mateen, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, Dahir A. Adan, and Abdul Razak Ali Artan).
After he attempted to insist that all was well in the fight against Islamic terror at home, Obama took time to laud his own record on al-Qaida. “Today, by any measure, core al-Qaida — the organization that hit us on 9/11 — is a shadow of its former self,” the president said.
“Plots directed from within Afghanistan and Pakistan have been consistently disrupted. Its leadership has been decimated. Dozens of terrorist leaders have been killed. Osama bin Laden is dead. And, importantly, we have built a counterterrorism capability that can sustain this pressure against any terrorist network in South Asia that might threaten the United States of America. That was because of the work of our outstanding [servicemen],” the president finished.
Obama omitted that his administration’s unclear strategy pursued in Syria has opened the United States to charges of aiding al-Qaida-tied rebel groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad — despite claims from the administration that U.S. efforts and arms are only benefiting more secular rebel groups.