This column has often said political correctness can be fatal. And now we've seen that harsh reality again with the terrorist massacre at Fort Hood. Political correctness kept the U.S. Army and U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies from taking action against a declared Islamic Jihadist and America hater, who also happened to be a major in the U.S. Army. As one pundit after another has pointed out, any third grader could have recognized the Fort Hood terrorist for what he was and is. He was not a terrorist hiding in our midst. He was a terrorist proclaiming his views publicly in every way and in every place.
This blindness toward the threat of Islam Jihadist terrorism is encouraged by most of the Middle East studies departments of our colleges and universities. This was summarized by in important piece on the Web site Campus Watch, which monitors Middle-East studies departments. It writes, "Despite these efforts at dissemblance, the facts in the Hasan case [at Fort Hood] speak clearly to a Jihadist agenda. Americans rightly concerned about the culture of political correctness and willful blindness towards Islamist ideology that has infected the U.S. military, intelligence agencies, and so many other institutions need only look to the denizens of the Ivory Tower for an explanation. Instead of explaining events like the Fort Hood shooting to the American public, all too often Middle East studies academics refuse to state the obvious and choose to obfuscate rather than clarify the events at hand. The rush to judgment against those who express valid concerns about Islamism only adds to the self-censorship that was in large part responsible for allowing Hasan to remain in the military and murder his fellow soldiers in cold blood."
We should assign responsibility for this needless and easily preventable slaughter at Ft. Hood, and start right at the top with our commander in chief, President Barack Hussein Obama who set the tone for the pervasive political correctness that has infected the White House, the U.S. Army and the rest of the federal government. This is a president who in one of the countless foolhardy steps on the War Against Terror, has even abolished the terms needed to describe the greatest threat to America's survival in history. His administration doesn't want to use the term war on terror but prefers the sanitized, euphemized expression "overseas contingency operation." A terrorist incident is now a "man-caused disaster." The word Jihadist has also been banned from the federal lexicon. When you can't even correctly describe your enemies, you can't fight them and you will never defeat them.
Even in his speech at Fort Hood, President Obama could not utter the words "terrorism," "terrorist," or "Jihadist." He viewed the terrorist massacre as an incomprehensive event, totally puzzled by its cause and nature. The terrorist commenced his slaughter with the cry of the Jihadist terrorist, "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Great") in Arabic. His behavior and background did everything but etch the words "Islamist, Jihadist, and Terrorist" on his forehead. But President Obama has done more than cripple the federal government with unrestrained political correctness. He has taken many active steps to cripple our ability to fight terrorism, the most outrageous and recent of which is to send the plotters of 9/11 to New York for trial. This brings a whole train of disastrous consequences. First, it is likely to require the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods to get a conviction. The first World Trade Center Trial did exactly that and helped Osama bin Laden flee to safer terrain in Afghanistan. We are now repeating our mistakes. Second, it symbolizes the Obama Administration's retreat to viewing war criminals as run of the mill criminals, and shifts the focus of government from a war on terrorists to the prosecution of criminals. This is the path taken by President Bill Clinton, viewing the war criminals and terrorists as ordinary criminals to be handled as a law enforcement matter, not a matter of war. President Clinton, thus, gave us 9/11 and 3,000 dead Americans. Now President Obama is preparing to deliver more dead Americans by taking us back to the failed Clinton approach. The trial will also mean the terrorist Jihadists will be able to present their propaganda to the world and use the federal courts and the national and international media to transmit their message and recruit more Jihadists and terrorists. In addition, there are safety and security issues that may mean still more American deaths and injuries.
But there is an even bigger picture. Just as he is destroying our economy with unsustainable debt and government takeover and expansion, he is also destroying our national defense and national security. As Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has pointed out, Mr. Obama has spent more time pressuring Israel to stop building settlements than pressuring Iran to top funding terrorism, which has been taking American lives along with the citizens of other nations. He is dithering, dawdling, and delaying making decisions in Afghanistan, emboldening our enemies, frightening our allies, and endangering our troops now on the ground.
He has taken every other step to bootlick our enemies and alienate our allies. He betrayed the Poles and Czechs when he bowed down to Russia and scuttled missile defense plans that had previously been approved for Eastern Europe. He doesn't approve a needed trade agreement with our ally Colombia, but supports a deposed dictator of Honduras, taking the side and supporting the interests of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Mr. Bolton says Mr. Obama's destruction of our national defense and security can't even be cataloged in a short compass, but here is a small sample prepared by Mr. Bolton and presented in a speech at Hillsdale College, reproduced in that college's publication, Imprimis (October 2009): "Here at home, the Obama administration has gravely impaired our capability to gather human intelligence by declassifying hundreds of pages of documents that explain our interrogation techniques — information that is now probably in al-Qaida training manuals. And at a time of the grossest profligacy in domestic spending in American history, the administration has imposed a ceiling on defense spending." Now we learn that one of the reasons the administration is delaying or rejecting altogether the troops deemed necessary by the American commander to win the war in Afghanistan is that they would cost too much. That is from the front-page of the New York Times (November 15, 2009), the virtual puppet and house organ of the Obama Administration. Mr. Obama doesn't hesitate to spend trillions on a failed stimulus bill, on Obamacare, on cap and trade and on its other domestic follies, but it suddenly gets frugal and even niggardly when it comes to defense spending.
With this in mind, let me postulate a few true, but politically incorrect, conclusions about the current Washington scene:
1. There is blood on the hands of Mr. Obama and his administration. The Fort Hood terrorist massacre can be directly traced to the political correctness imposed by Mr. Obama and his administration. As Benjamin Franklin said, a fish rots from its head on down. And our federal bureaucracy has been paralyzed by political correctness that flows from the very top. I should add a telling description of that phenomenon suggested by Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal. The failure of the Army and the rest of the responsible federal bureaucratic community to act on the Fort Hood terrorism are not only political correctness but also pure cowardice. These people sacrificed the lives of military personnel rather than run the risk of offending Muslims, and perhaps, imperiling their careers.
2. Mr. Obama, by his action in bringing the plotters to 9/11 to New York for trial, his closing of the prison of Guantanomo, and some of his other actions suggest he is more concerned about the welfare and sensibilities of terrorists than the welfare and safety of New Yorkers and the rest of the American people.
3. The president called for an investigation of what led to the Fort Hood terrorist massacre. He should also call for an investigation of Mr. Obama and the White House policy, which established the death dealing political correctness and cowardice that, was the direct cause of the terrorist catastrophe.
4. He should also immediately fire Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, who at Fort Hood, said the loss of diversity in the Army would be a greater tragedy than the massacre itself: "And what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity became a casualty here." That can only be described as idiocy of the first order, certifying Gen. Casey as unfit for command.
5. The upcoming New York trial is also evidence of the corrosive effect of the hate-America view of the Obama administration. The proponents of the move argue that the trial in New York will validate America's value. This indicates the decision was not made with American safety and security in mind, but was a political statement to impress the world community. This is a transparent attempt to bow to the European sentiments so critical of American policy and to offer proof that the new administration will act in keeping with the values of the European and international community. But American values need no validation. They have been validated by our history of hundreds of years of being the most democratic, the most generous, the most humanitarian nation in history, and the greatest nation in the history of the world, which has set the highest standards. It needs to offer no excuses and needs no validation of its history, its value, its role in the international community, or anything else.
6. President Obama says his first priority is to protect America. He is failing, and we have had the first terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. Former President George W. Bush kept us safe from 9/11 until the end of his administration. Mr. Obama is failing in his first priority, and unfortunately we will continue to suffer more terrorist attacks as his destruction of America's iconology and security continue apace.
What this all adds up to is that Mr. Obama is not only destroying America, but also has, in fact, destroyed America. As Dick Morris, the pundit, has pointed out, Mr. Obama has seriously weakened our national security and intelligence capabilities and with his reckless spending and unsustainable debt, has turned the once mighty U.S. into a beggar nation. If Mr. Obama is not stopped and his damage reversed, we will have to change the eagle as a national symbol into a sitting duck.
Herb Denenberg can be reached at email@example.com