President Obama's policy of "change" for America was never defined, but it was implemented in a very sophisticated manner. On June 4, 2009, he gave some insight into what he meant when he stated that he considered part of his responsibility as president of the United States was to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. In a speech in Cairo, he signaled U.S. support for Islamic uprisings. Mr. Obama's overture to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was, in effect, an invitation to declare war on a U.S. ally, Hosni Mubarak. Both al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood understood that the United States under Mr. Obama would not stand in their way in the revolutions to come.
This change in policy was a dramatic shift in policy that would have major consequences for the United States throughout the Middle East and beyond. "The Arab Spring," which was touted as a freedom and democracy movement, was essentially a Islamic supremacist awakening. Key was the fact that under the Obama administration, we switched sides in the Islamic jihad wars and dumped our allies in the global war on terrorism. We were now supporting al Qaeda-affiliated militias and rebels, many of which had fought against our military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan — and nobody even noticed.
There were no known objections raised by our military leadership in this major change in direction. Political correctness had them supporting our new policy of "leading from behind." What happened to America's exceptionalism and leadership that the world expected?
The Obama administration's policy of promoting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a moderate political force was a cover that actually legitimized the Islamic supremacists. President Mohammed Morsi's totalitarian edicts and power grab went unchallenged by the Obama administration even though we had the key financial power to pressure him to change course. Mr. Morsi's hatred for Israel was well known, as was his support for the terrorist group Hamas, which is the Muslim Brotherhood's proxy branch in Gaza with a sworn goal of the elimination of Israel.
Likewise, Libyan President Muhammad al-Muqaryaf also has been cast as a moderate who supports free elections, free speech and women's rights. However, Mr. al-Muqaryaf has declared that there can be no laws in Libya that conflict with Islam's draconian Shariah law, which controls every aspect of a Muslim's daily life. Shariah is totally incompatible with our concept of freedom and democracy.
For a number of years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been penetrating our government agencies, but it has been greatly accelerated by Mr. Obama's "outreach to Muslims" policy. The penetration has now been institutionalized at the top levels of our national security agencies, including the Department of Defense and the entire intelligence community. As an example of their effectiveness, 57 Muslim signatories wrote a letter to Mr. Obama's national security adviser for terrorism, John O. Brennan, now our CIA director, complaining about "bigoted trainers and material" that was being used to (accurately) describe the threat of Islamic terrorism. As a result, all such material and training manuals were purged to remove anything that portrayed Islam as a religion of violence. Further, an advisory board full of Muslim Brotherhood operatives was established to review and sanction all revised training material for our military forces, FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Our entire national security community has now been effectively neutralized. How comforting.
Our counterinsurgency strategy, with its restricted rules of engagement, needlessly has exposed our military forces in Afghanistan, costing many fatalities in the futile hope of winning the hearts and minds of a tribal society. This is nonsense. We have had too many instances where our forces have been placed in jeopardy because we did not employ available resources for fear of collateral damage.
Such was the case that led up to the Extortion 17 tragedy, which cost the lives of 31 Americans, including 25 elite SEAL Team 6 warriors. Many of those SEALs participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and were identified as such by Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. for obvious political purposes. A target was put on their backs. Using the unmaneuverable transport-type CH-47 helicopter for this quick-reaction Special Forces mission — with no air support or suppression fire in an enemy-controlled, high-threat area — was unconscionable. Further, still unexplained was a last-second personnel change that could have allowed a suicide bomber onboard the chopper. It was the single largest loss SEAL Team 6 ever experienced. This was nothing short of a dereliction of duty.
It was this same type of dereliction of duty that caused the death of four Americans in the Benghazi, Libya, tragedy. The failure to respond to cries for help from our diplomats and CIA personnel was un-American. Aside from the whitewash by the Accountability Review Board to protect the Obama administration, we had assets that could have been deployed in sufficient time to save American lives. The talking-point lies and cover-up have now been exposed. The American people and certainly the families of the Americans who lost their lives deserve to know who gave the "stand down" orders and on whose authority. The lying and cover-up, as well as the deliberate failure to provide available military forces in a distress situation, are impeachable offenses. Americans should wake up and see there is something insidious going on.
Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.