- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The White House billed last week’s address by President Obama as a major foreign policy address. Indeed, it was. It was tantamount to a surrender speech in what is most accurately described not as the War on Terrorism, but as the War for the Free World — for that is what is at stake if we lose.

Of course, Team Obama clearly meant the take-away from his remarks to be about tactical adjustments, not strategic defeat — hence, the focus on changes he was announcing to U.S. policy and practice with regard to drones and Guantanamo Bay.

With respect to the former, the president severely restricted the use of one of the few tools he has used offensively against what he calls “core al Qaeda” and the leadership of some of its affiliates. Henceforth, under circumstances where a direct and imminent threat is posed to the United States and no collateral damage will be caused to innocent civilians, strikes from remotely piloted vehicles will be mostly conducted by the military.

This assumes that the chain of command can function in a sufficiently timely fashion to get the job done. It also is predicated on the assumption that the government of the country in which the strike will occur is OK with having ties with the typically more overt Pentagon, rather than enjoying the plausible deniability of dealing with the inherently covert CIA.

That prospect is further dimmed by the new guidelines precluding use of armed drones if it might be helpful just to the host government and undefined “U.S. interests,” such as our preference for its survival. Then, there is the further potential impediment created by Mr. Obama’s stated openness to having a new court rule on the appropriateness of each strike.

Mr. Obama is engaged in similar unilateral disarmament with respect to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He insists that his administration will close down Gitmo, the only secure facility in the world for detaining unlawful enemy combatants without affording them constitutional rights they do not deserve and will likely use to our detriment. He promises to exercise his authority to send home a number of Yemenis held there, even though there is every reason to think many will return to wage jihad against us — either in their own anarchic country or elsewhere. A new special White House envoy will redouble administration efforts to unload the rest of the detainees, as well.

Taken together, the president now seems determined neither to capture and incarcerate enemies — apart from inside the United States, where they can be swiftly Mirandized and lawyered-up — nor otherwise to eliminate the threat they represent by killing them remotely.

Ill-advised as these presidential actions are, even more ominous is the fact that they were but a part of Mr. Obama’s leitmotif of denial, disengagement and defeatism: Denial about the enemy, which is not al Qaeda (core or otherwise), but the global jihadist movement of which the now-deceased Osama bin Laden and his successors are but one element. Disengagement from waging war against that enemy by hollowing out and demoralizing the only military we have to fight it. Defeatism was captured in his statement that “this war, like all wars, must end.”

Many have noted since Mr. Obama spoke that there are only two ways that a nation can end a war unilaterally: by winning it or by surrendering. Unfortunately, this president has effectively ruled out winning. Every one of America’s enemies — actual or potential — knows that by both his rhetoric and his actions, Mr. Obama is in the process of surrendering.

The extent of that surrender is evident in “The Jihadist Plot,” a riveting account by John Rosenthal of how the Obama administration “switched sides in the War on Terror.” Drawing from a variety of open and formerly classified sources, the author makes plain that we are now aligned in Libya (among other places) with not just Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood’s opportunistic jihadi stripe, but those committed exclusively to violent jihad, such as al Qaeda.

In the face of such appalling unilateral disarmament and defeatism, where is the loyal opposition in this country? Alas, the man the press construes to be the pre-eminent Republican on national security issues, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has just demonstrated afresh his own poor judgment on these matters.

With a trip over the weekend to hobnob with jihadists among the “Syrian opposition” about the United States’ obligation to provide more arms to them, establish a no-fly zone and otherwise help them overthrow Bashar Assad, Mr. McCain is recklessly seeking a reprise of the disaster in Libya. He is insisting that we actively work to remove an autocratic, relatively secular despot and replace him with “rebels” — the preponderance of whom seek our destruction.

We must reject and repudiate the surrender Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are engineering. We must also understand factors contributing to such behavior. To that end, an enormously important contribution has just been made by syndicated columnist Diana West in her new book, “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character.”

Ms. West brings to the subject her characteristic clarity of thought, engaging writing style and exacting attention to — and documentation of — the evidence of penetration and subversion of our country and government by successive waves of ideologically driven totalitarian collectivists. If you want to understand the wellspring of our present surrender, you must read “American Betrayal.” Then take to heart its author’s clarion call for avenging the betrayal of liberty that has taken place since FDR’s time and that is reaching dangerous new heights today.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio.

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